vowels'n'consonants (schmanda) wrote in ontd_political,

Man arrested over threats to kill McDermott

Man arrested over threats to kill McDermott
A Palm Springs man has been arrested for leaving phone messages threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the Seattle Democrat.

By Jim Brunner
Seattle Times political reporter

A Palm Springs man has been arrested for leaving phone messages threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the Seattle Democrat.

Charles Turner Habermann was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of threatening a federal official, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Habermann, 32, made two expletive-laced phone calls to McDermott's office on Dec. 9, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

In the first call, Habermann said he'd seen McDermott on television and was enraged by his comments opposing tax cuts for the rich.

"He's a piece of human filth. He's a liar, he's a communist, he's a piece of [expletive] garbage," Habermann said in the recorded message, according to the criminal complaint.

Habermann said George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other U.S. founding fathers would "blow his [McDermott's] brains out" if they met him.

Habermann then threatened to kill McDermott as well as his friends and family, the complaint says.

In a second call, Habermann said he had "a lot of money" and "a lot of friends" and that McDermott was "going down."

Habermann left his name and phone number during both recorded messages. [Sorry, but LOL]

He was interviewed by FBI agents the next day. Habermann told the FBI he'd been drinking when he placed the calls but said he was "functioning" and remembered leaving the messages.

Habermann said he never intended to actually harm McDermott, saying he had "too much to lose" — referring to a $3 million trust fund, according to the complaint. [Again, LOL]

It wasn't the first time Habermann has threatened an elected official.

Last March, he was investigated by the California Highway Patrol after he left voice messages threatening an unidentified California state legislator.

Habermann's arrest comes at a time when threats against members of Congress have taken on new urgency in the wake of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords last week.

Giffords, a Democrat, was wounded in the attack, which left six others dead, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

While the motives of the accused Arizona shooter, Jared Loughner, are unclear, the massacre has heightened the debate over angry political rhetoric directed at public officials.

Habermann is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Riverside, Calif.

Threatening a federal official is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.


ETA: More here.

Contacted by the investigators the day after the messages were left, Habermann allegedly admitted to threatening McDermott and an congresswoman not identified in court documents.

"He said he was trying to scare them before they spent money that didn't belong to them," FBI Special Agent Dean Giboney told the court.

"Habermann stated that he never had any intention of hurting anyone," the agent continued, "and that he had too much to lose -- referring to his $3 million trust fund -- to ever do anything which could get him sent to prison."
Habermann also disparaged Democrats for their views on tax cuts and unemployment insurance, according to the statement. Habermann is alleged to have threatened to kill McDermott in an effort to interfere with his vote on the tax cut proposal in December 2010.

A McDermott staffer contacted the FBI on Dec. 10, reporting that the congressman's Seattle office had received the offending phone calls.
Writing the court, Giboney said Habermann admitted to making the calls during an interview with investigators on Dec. 10. According to the FBI agent, Habermann also admitted to threatening a second U.S. representative, identified in court documents as "Congresswoman C.P."

Habermann said he'd been drinking the night he made the calls but was "functioning," the FBI agent told the court. Asked about his motivation for the threats, Giboney continued, Habermann said he "was calling politicians to let them know that what they were doing and saying regarding spending taxpayer's money was wrong."
Federal prosecutors contend Habermann was investigated in March after making similar threats against a member of the California State Assembly.

In that instance, Habermann was escorted from the assembly member's office.

"During the meeting Habermann began ranting about the current federal health care bill and how Habermann was 'very well off' and did not want to support immigrants and Latinos," Giboney told the court. "Habermann was described as agitated, paranoid, uneasy and couldn't keep still."

Habermann then left threatening messages on an office voice mail, according to charging documents.

Contacted by the California Highway Patrol, Habermann said he was high on medical marijuana and apologized for the threatening voice mails, according to charging documents. He was issued a warning.

Charged with threatening a federal official, Habermann is expected to appear in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Riverside, Calif. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Tags: california, crime, stupid people, washington (the state)

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