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USA Today fires columnist who suggested assault of Michael Caputo's daughters

USA Today has fired a contributor who suggested on Twitter that the toddler daughters of East Aurora political consultant Michael Caputo be assaulted at parties hosted by a convicted sex offender.

The newspaper told TheWrap late Thursday that it had dropped freelance columnist Cheri Jacobus after learning about the offensive tweet earlier in the afternoon.

Jacobus, who also appears on cable TV and previously contributed to The Hill, engaged in a back-and-forth with Caputo that soon became intensely personal.

Caputo called her "#BitterChildlessAlone" and posted a GIF of a woman holding a bottle of booze and crying under a desk.

Jacobus responded by asking whether Caputo's daughters are ugly or whether they would be shared sexually at parties hosted by Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender. She also accused Caputo, who has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, of treason.

Caputo and other conservative outlets swiftly brought pressure to bear on USA Today. By Friday morning, Jacobus had removed any mention of USA Today from her Twitter bio.

"My tweet was in response to his attacks on me," Jacobus told TheWrap in a statement which also accused Caputo of harassing her with tweets urging her to commit suicide.

Caputo on Friday afternoon applauded USA Today's action but condemned Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz for their connection to WNYmedia Network, saying that site has promoted "sexualized attacks" on his family.

The news site this week prominently posted a tweet that accused Caputo's wife of spying for Russia and seducing Caputo into marrying her. Caputo's statement pointed out that his wife, Maryna, is from Ukraine, a country at odds with Russia.

"Our clients pay for web-hosting and video services. Nothing more," Marc Odien, the managing editor of WNYmedia Network, said in a statement. "As the world has witnessed regularly on national TV over the last few months, Mr. Caputo has a knack for twisting the truth. We have never written about his family and we aren't sure why he wants to drag us into his angry little world."

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