Breaking News Emails
A man was arrested in New York on Friday for threatening the lives of two U.S. senators for their support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Ronald DeRisi of Smithtown, New York, allegedly left more than 10 voicemails for two senators to discourage them from voting to confirm Kavanaugh, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Kavanaugh had a contentious confirmation process after he was publicly accused of sexual misconduct by three women, including Christine Blasey Ford, a California psychology professor who testified he sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school.
Neither of the senators who received messages was named in the criminal complaint.
"Nine millimeter, side of the f---ing head! If f---ing Kavanaugh gets in, he's dead f---ing meat," one message from Sept. 27 threatened. "Actually, even if Kavanaugh doesn't get in, he's dead f---ing meat."
Another message, recorded on Oct. 6, only said "tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock." The caller included one senator's home address in some of the calls, stating "we'll be in touch."
Federal prosecutors say DeRisi began leaving messages for the lawmakers on Sept. 27, the day Kavanaugh and Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the allegations, and continued on after Kavanaugh's swearing-in ceremony on Oct. 6.
Authorities traced the calls made to a pre-paid cellphone purchased with a debit card belonging to DeRisi, according to an unsealed affidavit by Lawrence O. Anyaso, a special agent with the United States Capitol Police.
Anyaso wrote that during the investigation he learned of a 2015 case in which DeRisi pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment in the second degree after calling someone's home and office more than 15 times and leaving threatening voicemails.
"I have listened to the voice on these recordings from the 2015 case, and the recordings in the instant investigation, as discussed above," Anyaso said in the affidavit. "The voices sound to me to be from the same person."
DeRisi, 74, is scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday afternoon.
"Representative democracy cannot work if elected officials are threatened with death for simply doing their job,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a release.