Q1: If I decided to make an image of myself holding a (fake) Kathy Griffin's bloodied severed head and took a full colored newspaper ad with that picture in order to promote myself, would Kathy Griffin have any cause to ask police to investigate me for a threat against her or for inciting violence against her?
Unlike threatening a private person, making a credible threat against POTUS is not protected speech because of Title 18 USC paragraph 879.
Q2: If Griffin would be justified in feeling threatened by my hypothetical ad (as described in Q1), would her (now infamous) picture with a fake severed head of POTUS not be justified in being viewed and treated as the same type of threat? Is there an extra exception because she is known for her provocative style of performance which uses politics for shock value? Is this (perhaps) uncharted waters from the legal standpoint? Perhaps because the constitutionality of the above statute has never been tested?
Similarly, why would her depiction not be investigated as incitement of violence? What's the standard there? If any acts of violence are committed by 3rd parties as a result of seeing that picture, will she then bare any culpability?
I know there is a few questions here, but if someone with better knowledge of relevant case law can bring some clarity to whether she can conceivably be in legal jeopardy, I am curious to know what your thoughts are.