Politics

New York Man Arrested for Kavanaugh Confirmation Death Threats

Ronald DeRisi allegedly threatened two senators for their votes on Supreme Court justice

Protesters opposed to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh rally at the Supreme Court after a march on October 4, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A 74-year-old Long Island man has been arrested on charges of threatening to injure or kill two senators over their support of confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The allegations against Ronald DeRisi are made in a filing in federal court in New York’s Eastern District.

According to the complaint filed in Brooklyn, the Capitol Police were made aware by a Senate office of a Sept. 27 voicemail in which DeRisi is alleged to have said he had a “present” of a, “nine millimeter. Side of your f---ing scull, you scumbag motherf----r.”

The message was directed to a senator who supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and according to Capitol Police, another voicemail was sent to the same senator.

“I greatly appreciate the hard work of our investigators for addressing these threats so quickly, and that of the U.S. Attorney’s staff for prosecuting this case,” Capitol Police Chief Matthew Vederosa said in a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office.

DeRisi is alleged to have made similar threats against a second senator, through at least 10 other voicemails. In multiple cases, the caller is alleged to have known the senator’s home address.

According to the court filing, one of the voice messages said, “tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.”

The complaint alleges that voicemails were traced to a pre-paid cell phone purchased using Derisi’s debit card on Long Island.

“The First Amendment — the pinnacle of American achievement — protects debate, disagreement and dissent, not death threats,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “We and all those dedicated to the rule of law will not tolerate the use violence and threats of violence in attempts to prevail in political disputes.”

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