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California man pleads guilty to threat to kill Rep. Matt Gaetz

Eugene Huelsman left a voice message Jan. 9, 2021, in which he said he would kill the Republican representative, court documents say.
Image: Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., arrives for an Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington on June 23.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

A California man pleaded guilty Thursday to threatening Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, federal prosecutors said

Eugene Huelsman, 59, left a voicemail at Gaetz’s Florida office Jan. 9, 2021, in which he said, in part, “I’m gonna put a bullet in you" and called him a "tyrant," according to court documents.

The threat was a reaction to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who had lost the November election, Huelsman’s attorney said.

Huelsman, of Thousand Oaks, which is near Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one count of transmission of a threat in interstate commerce, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Florida said in a statement.

The charge carries up to five years in prison. Plea agreement documents do not lay out a possible sentencing range.

Huelsman did not intend for the threat to be taken literally but acknowledged that it could have been, his attorney, Curtis Fallgatter, said Friday. He “was just outraged about the attack on the Capitol,” Fallgatter said.

“He made a call that he shouldn’t have,” Fallgatter said.

Huelsman had been investigated in 2018 by the Secret Service “for prior social media postings related to member of a former president’s family,” a document associated with the plea agreement says. It does not name the president.

Fallgatter said that was a short Instagram message to Donald Trump Jr., which the lawyer described as “‘die,’ with a profane word,” and that it was not a crime.

Sentencing is set for June 30.