Smithtown, New York, Resident Arrested for Threatening Two United States Senators
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Ronald DeRisi with threatening to murder and assault two United States Senators in retaliation for their support of the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. DeRisi was arrested earlier today in Smithtown, Long Island, and his initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown at the United States Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Matthew R. Verderosa, Chief, United States Capitol Police (USCP), announced the charges.
“Representative democracy cannot work if elected officials are threatened with death for simply doing their job,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “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 violence and threats of violence in attempts to prevail in political disputes.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the United States Capitol Police, the agency responsible for leading the investigation.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work of our investigators for addressing these threats so quickly, and that of the U.S. Attorney’s staff for prosecuting this case,” stated USCP Chief Verderosa.
As alleged in the complaint, beginning on September 27, 2018, DeRisi left more than 10 threatening voice-messages at the offices of two United States Senators (identified in the complaint as Senator-1 and Senator-2) regarding the nomination and confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the high court. The threats in the voice-messages were apparently made to discourage Senator-1 and Senator-2 from supporting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and/or as retaliation for having voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The complaint details the content of some of the expletive-laced recorded voice-messages.
For example, in the first of two voice-messages left for Senator-1 on September 27, 2018, DeRisi said that he had a “present” for Senator-1, stating, in part, “It’s a nine millimeter. Side of your … skull ….” DeRisi concluded with “Yeah, Kavanaugh – I don’t think so.”
In a voice-message left for Senator-2 on October 6, 2018, DeRisi stated, in part, “… you better pray this guy don’t get in….” Less than an hour and a half later, DeRisi called Senator-2 again and left a message stating, in part, “I’m gonna get you.”
According to the complaint, DeRisi was identified through telephone records as well as by voice exemplars.
Following DeRisi’s arrest, USCP executed a search warrant and seized the cellular telephone used to leave the voice-messages detailed in the complaint.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Justina L. Geraci is in charge of the prosecution.
Smithtown, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-MJ-998
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