A New York man was arrested for threatening to kill two senators in response to their support for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department announced Friday.
The man, identified as 74-year-old Ronald DeRisi of Smithtown, N.Y., left more than 10 threatening voicemails with the offices of the two senators, who were not identified, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The messages were related to Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and, according to the Justice Department, DeRisi left the voicemails with the goal of discouraging the senators from backing Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
In one message left with the first senator on Sept. 27, DeRisi allegedly threatened to shoot the senator.
“It’s a nine-millimeter,” the caller said, according to court documents. “Side of your fucking skull, you scumbag motherfucker.”
At the end of the call, the man said, “Yea, Kavanaugh — I don’t think so.”
The same senator received a second voicemail to a district office later that day.
“We’re tired of this guy. Sucking taxpayers’ money. Getting a fucking free ride. How many more years you gonna do it? None. He’s a dead man. Nine-millimeter, side of the fucking head,” DeRisi said, according to the court filings. “If fucking Kavanaugh gets in, he’s dead fucking meat. Actually, even if Kavanaugh doesn’t get in, he’s dead fucking meat. Nine-millimeter, side of the head, you fucking old bastard.”
DeRisi left multiple messages with the second senator’s office in Washington, D.C., according to the Justice Department.
“You fucking twit, you better pray this guy doesn’t get in,” said one of the voicemails, left Oct. 6, according to court documents. “You fucking moron.”
“You asshole, you son of a bitch. … Hey, maybe you should go back to [home state]. … But thanks for sending us your address; that does help, thank you. … We’ll be in touch, see ya soon, see ya soon,” a second voicemail, left Oct. 7 with the senator’s D.C. office, said, according to filings.
DeRisi allegedly called the senator’s office multiple times more but did not leave messages.
Federal law enforcement was able to identify DeRisi, in part, through phone and bank records, the Justice Department said.
He was arrested Friday and is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday afternoon.
“Representative democracy cannot work if elected officials are threatened with death simply for doing their job,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “The First Amendment — the pinnacle of American achievement — protects debate, disagreement and dissent, not death threats. We and all those dedicated to the rule of law will not tolerate the use of violence and threats of violence in attempts to prevail in political disputes.”
The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in a 50-48 vote this month.
But Kavanaugh’s nomination resulted in a highly contentious and bitter fight, which was roiled by allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by three separate women.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations, and he and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month about Ford’s allegation of sexual assault.
Following the hearing and a subsequent FBI investigation into the allegation, the Senate pushed ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
As tension surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination built, protesters descended on Washington to urge senators to oppose his confirmation.
Several senators, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, were spotted on Capitol Hill with police escorts as protesters attempted to confront them.
[Opinion: With Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmed, the media has completely lost interest in his accusers' stories]