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Man Arrested For Threats Against Rep. Jim McDermott

In the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, it looks like law enforcement is taking threats against Congressman more seriously:

A California man accused of threatening to kill Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott has been arrested and charged in federal court.

Charles Turner Habermann — a 32-year-old Palm Springs, Calif., resident with a $3 million trust fund — was arrested Wednesday morning on allegations that he made threatening phone calls to the office of the Seattle Democrat late last year.

Federal authorities contend Habermann admitted to making the calls because he was angry about taxes, but said he wouldn’t risk losing his trust fund by attacking McDermott.

Federal prosecutors in Seattle described statements left by Habermann in two Dec. 9 phone calls as an “expletive-laden” effort to influence McDermott’s vote on tax policy. According to charging documents, Habermann to have threatened to kill McDermott’s friends and family, then, in the second call, threatened to put McDermott “in the trash.”

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.”

The threats preceded by several weeks the deadly Arizona shooting that saw six killed and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded.

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.

In one, the caller was heard calling McDermott “a piece of human filth,” “a communist,” and a “piece of (expletive) garbage.”

“Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, if any of them had ever met uh, uh Jim McDermott, they would all blow his brains out,” Habermann said in the first rambling message, according to charging documents. “They’d shoot him, in the head. They’d kill him, because he’s a piece of, of, of disgusting garbage. …

“Any you let that (expletive) scum bag know, that if he ever (expletive) with my money, ever the (expletive) again, I’ll (expletive) kill him, okay,” Habermann continued, according to charges. “I’ll round them up, I’ll kill them, I’ll kill his friends, I’ll kill his family, I will kill everybody he (expletive) knows.”

The second message continued in the same vein, Giboney told the court, noting that Habermann identified himself by name in both calls.

It does help when these people are dumb enough to identify themselves when making threats like this.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Axel Edgren says:

    Hey, the idea that “taxation is theft” is a standard idea among many Teepers.

    And “abortion is murder” to many right-wingers, even in congress.

    Theft and murder are serious crimes, and if you are told again and again that one side is pushing for a continuation of a status quo where the government either commits crimes or defends them, well…

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