A 32 year-old California man was arrested today for making phone calls last month to Democratic Representative Jim McDermott’s office and leaving expletive-laden voice mails. In those messages he threatened to kill the congressman, his friends and family. The Caucus:
The news came as law-enforcement officials briefed members of Congress on precautions they ought to take to ensure the security of their families and staff in the wake of the shootings in Tucson. A spokeswoman for the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle said that prosecutors’ decision to bring charges, and their timing, did not reflect any policy change in response to the incident.
“The decision to charge this case was made before the tragic events in Arizona,” said Emily Langlie, the spokeswoman. “The arrest had always been anticipated to occur this week.”
She also noted that her office has a history of taking threats against lawmakers seriously. It prosecuted another man for making a threat against a lawmaker – Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington – within the past year. She said that case, including the timing of the ultimate decision to file charges, had unfolded in a very similar fashion to the current investigation.
According to prosecutors, Charles Turner Habermann called McDermott’s Seattle office at about midnight the morning of Dec. 10 and left two voicemails. In the expletive-laden messages, Habermann allegedly said he was going to kill McDermott as well as his family, his friends, and “everybody he fucking knows.” …
Habermann allegedly made other threats, in March 2010, toward a member of the California state assembly. According to the FBI, Habermann left threatening messages after a meeting about health care legislation with the lawmaker’s staff, a meeting during which Habermann was allegedly “agitated, paranoid, uneasy and couldn’t keep still.” Visited by the California Highway Patrol after the threats were received, Habermann said he had been high on medical marijuana at the time and got off with a warning.
If convicted, Habermann could face up to 10 years in prison.