KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man pleaded guilty Tuesday to making threats in profanity-laced voice mails left at U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office.
Glendon Swift, 64, of Lenoir City pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening a family member of a federal official. In return, prosecutors said they would recommend a 13-month sentence. Swift could have faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 4. Swift’s attorney, federal public defender Jonathan Moffatt, declined comment.
An FBI affidavit shows the 64-year-old Swift left two messages at the Republican leader’s suburban Richmond office on Oct. 27, threatening to “destroy” the congressman, making derogatory references to Cantor being Jewish and making threats against family members. The calls were traced to Swift’s cellphone.
In one of the calls, Swift said, “How about if I rape your daughter? How about that, if I come into your house and kill your wife?”
Swift admitted to the FBI that he made the calls to the six-term Republican, saying he “got drunk the other night and started cussing people out.” He said he did not remember threatening the congressman’s family, however.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the five-year sentence of a man who sent threatening letters to a federal judge in Nashville — including one that contained a white powder substance that was ultimately determined to be artificial sweetener.
Further from The Tennessean: Herbert Wilfred Nixon sent the letters to Senior Judge Thomas Wiseman after Wiseman sentenced him to three years in prison for credit card fraud in 2002.
“The unsigned letters demanded money and threatened the judge’s life,” according to the 6th Circuit opinion written by Judge Raymond M. Kethledge. Nixon pleaded guilty to making a false threat involving a biological weapon.
While federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of 30 to 37 months, U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. sentenced Nixon to 60 months.
Nixon argued that the sentence was unreasonable, but the three-judge appellate panel upheld it, citing factors including Nixon’s criminal history and the fact that his hoax “required the government to spend resources responding to a bio-hazard threat and were meant to terrorize a district judge and his staff.”
News release from U.S. Attorney’s office in Virginia (h/t Politico):
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Glendon Swift, 62, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was arrested late yesterday for allegedly making threats against the family of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement.
“Threatening to harm the family of a public official is a very serious charge, and we are grateful to the FBI and their law enforcement partners for their quick action in this case,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.
Swift was charged by criminal complaint of threatening to assault or murder a member of the immediate family of a United States official. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He made an initial appearance before the Honorable C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, in Knoxville, Tenn., this afternoon.
According to court documents, an unknown male left two voicemail messages with Rep. Cantor’s Glen Allen, Va., office the evening of Oct. 27, 2011. The screaming, profanity-laden messages allegedly stated that the caller was going to destroy Rep. Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife. A Congressional staff member retrieved the messages, alerted the U.S. Capitol Police, which sought the assistance of the FBI to identify and locate the individual who made the calls.
Swift was identified as the individual who subscribed to the phone number used to make the call. He was arrested without incident on Nov. 2, 2011 by the FBI in Knoxville and the Lenoir City Police Department after having been interviewed by law enforcement, and allegedly admitted to making the threatening phone calls to Rep. Cantor’s office.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Richmond and Knoxville Field Offices, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Lenoir City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.
Eleven months of jail time later, a Maryville man conceded Wednesday that threatening to murder a U.S. congressman’s staff wasn’t the best way to protest his passport woes, according to the News Sentinel. “I’m sorry for what I did,” Eric Robert Henderson told U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips. “I blew up. I shouldn’t have done it.”
Henderson, 28, was freed Wednesday after serving 11 months in jail for putting U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s office in Washington D.C. under verbal siege in September 2010, threatening murder and mayhem if Roe didn’t do something to help him get a passport.
“It is clear Mr. Henderson is mad at the government because they will not issue him a passport so that he can leave the country,” Assistant Federal Defender Kim Tollison wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “He claims that he has filed all of the required papers. The government claims that he has not. Mr. Henderson very much would like to leave this country. All he needs is a passport.”