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New York man pleads guilty to phoning in death threats to GOP senators for backing Kavanaugh
Image source: Fox News video screenshot

New York man pleads guilty to phoning in death threats to GOP senators for backing Kavanaugh

He's facing up to a decade behind bars

A New York man has pleaded guilty to threatening the lives of two U.S. senators last year over their support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation as a justice on the Supreme Court.

What are the details?

Long Island resident Ronald DeRisi, 74, was arrested in October after leaving several expletive-filled messages on the voicemails of Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). At the time, Grassley was chairman of the Judiciary Committee that was conducting the contentious Kavanaugh hearings. Collins all but sealed Kavanaugh's confirmation by announcing that she would vote "yes" in a widely-viewed speech on the Senate floor.

The New York Post reported that in one message to Grassley, DeRisi said he had a "present" for the senator: "It's a 9 millimeter. Side of your f****** skull, you scumbag mother*****r." He reportedly concluded the message by saying, "Yeah, Kavanaugh — I don't think so."

According to prosecutors, in a message to Collins ahead of the vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation, DeRisi stated, "you better pray this guy don't get in." He called back less than 90 minutes later and added, "I'm going to get you," USA Today reported.

After the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh, DeRisi left another message for Collins where he said, "Thanks to you...we now have a sexual predator on the Supreme Court," and added, "we will proceed to correct it."

Federal authorities busted DeRisi — who evidently used a prepaid cell phone to issue the threats —by using phone records and voice samples. They were able to link him to more than 10 calls to the senators, and to a threat made to a fellow New Yorker years prior in an unrelated case, according to The Washington Times.

On Thursday, DeRisi pleaded guilty to the threats against the senators, and is required under his plea agreement to forfeit two rifles. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Anything else?

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue issued a statement on the case, saying, "This defendant threatened to assault and murder two sitting United States senators in an effort to intimidate them and interfere with their performance of official duties. Ours is a system of laws — not threats — and the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute those who seek to undermine the integrity of our constitutional system through violence."

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