A New York man was arrested Friday for leaving more than 10 threatening voice messages at the offices of two US senators in relation to their support of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed Friday in New York federal court, Ronald DeRisi, 74, was charged with threatening to murder and assault two senators in retaliation for their support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the highest court in the land.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court after the Senate voted 50–48 to confirm him earlier this month. The confirmation came after allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh threatened to sink his nomination.
The complaint does not identify the two senators who received the threats.
“The threats in the voice-messages were apparently made to discourage [the senators] from supporting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and/or as retaliation for having voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” the complaint states.
In one voice message, left on Sept. 27, DeRisi allegedly said that he had a “present” for the senator, adding, “It’s a 9 mm. Side of your fucking skull, you scumbag motherfucker.”
“Yeah, Kavanaugh — I don’t think so,” DeRisi allegedly said.
In another message left for a different senator on Oct. 6, DeRisi allegedly said, “...you better pray this guy don’t get in.” DeRisi called the senator again less than an hour and a half later, leaving a message stating, “Listen, you dumb son of a bitch, don’t you know that guy’s a sex offender? How could you not know that ... you fucking twit. I’m gonna get you.”
In another voice message to the senator on the same day, DeRisi allegedly said, “tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.”
DeRisi used a prepaid cellphone, according to the complaint, which he paid for using his debit card. All of the calls were made in the vicinity of DeRisi’s home in Smithtown, New York.
In February 2015, DeRisi pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated harassment in an unrelated case for leaving threatening messages on someone’s voicemail.
“Representative democracy cannot work if elected officials are threatened with death for simply doing their job,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “The First Amendment — the pinnacle of American achievement — protects debate, disagreement and dissent, not death threats.”