Florida man arrested for making threats to members of Congress
April 19, 2019
Federal prosecutors said Friday a South Florida man has been charged for allegedly making threatening calls to three Democratic members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Eric Swalwell and Sen. Cory Booker, and allegedly made threats against Rep. Ilhan Omar in those calls. John Kless, 49, of Tamarac, Florida, appeared before a judge Friday on charges of making threatening communications, prosecutors said.
The charges against Kless came just days after Omar, who is Muslim, said she had received increased death threats after President Trump's tweet splicing images from the Sept. 11 attacks and a partial quote by Omar saying that "some people did something" on Sept. 11.
According to the complaint, Kless allegedly left a voicemail on April 16 for Tlaib, who is also Muslim, saying "it was your Taliban, b****, who f***ing opened up her f***ing towel head mouth about 'some people did it.'" The complaint also alleges Kless used a number of racial slurs and sexually offensive language, and said she should "tell her Taliban friend to shut up."
The complaint alleged Kless left a voicemail for Booker less than a half hour later on April 16, repeatedly calling him the "n-word" and a "monkey." Kless allegedly told Booker "we're going to have a war in this country motherf***ers" and "you're going to be the motherf***ers who pay."
Kless also allegedly told Booker to "shut up about 9/11 and [unintelligible] and tell that motherf***ing towel head to shut up." Booker, who is from Newark, New Jersey, told "Face the Nation" on April 13 that some of his friends had died on Sept. 11, and he called Mr. Trump's tweet about Omar "offensive."
Kless also allegedly called Swalwell about 9 minutes before the call to Tlaib on April 16, leaving a voicemail saying "the day you come after our guns motherf***er is the day you'll be dead." The complaint alleged Kless said there would be "war" if Democrats "keep talking like that sh** too." According to the complaint, Kless also called Swalwell the "n-word," although Swalwell is white.
All three who received the calls are prominent Democrats: Booker and Swalwell are both running for president as Democrats. And Tlaib has said she plans to introduce an impeachment resolution and said shortly after being sworn in that " we're going to impeach the motherf***er" Mr. Trump.
In a separate incident that was not part of this complaint, on Friday, Democratic Rep. David Cicilline tweeted a voicemail calling him a "corrupt piece of sh**," which he said he received after saying impeachment is a "possibility" after special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Earlier this month, a New York man was charged for allegedly threatening her over the phone. Investigators said Patrick Carlineo, 55, allegedly called Omar's office on March 21 and told a staffer "Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a (expletive) terrorist. I'll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull," according to the criminal complaint.
In March, a West Virginia GOP event featured an anti-Muslim poster of Omar linking her to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The poster featured a picture of planes flying into the World Trade Center with the phrase "never forget, you said" and then under it, a picture of Omar with the words "I am proof you have forgotten."
Omar, who represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional district, tweeted about the poster: "No wonder why I am on the 'Hitlist' of a domestic terrorist and 'Assassinate Ilhan Omar' is written on my local gas stations."
Last year, several prominent critics of Mr. Trump's, including Hillary Clinton and CNN, were mailed package bombs. Cesar Sayoc, 57, pleaded guilty in March to 65 criminal counts related to the illegal mailing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including a charge for the use of a weapon of mass destruction.