Man Arrested For Making Death Threats Against Democratic Congressman

A 32-year-old man from Palm Springs, Calif., has been charged with making death threats against Washington state Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott over the tax cuts deal passed last month.

According to prosecutors, Charles Turner Habermann called McDermott's Seattle office at about midnight the morning of Dec. 10 and left two voicemails. In the expletive-laden messages, Habermann allegedly said he was going to kill McDermott as well as his family, his friends, and "everybody he fucking knows."

Habermann allegedly said he grew up in Chicago and could hire people to kill McDermott. The criminal complain notes that Habermann said he could afford it and has a $3,000,000 trust fund.

The messages, transcribed in the criminal complaint (PDF) released today, include lengthy rants against the tax cuts deal, which extended the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy as well as the middle class.

"I was calling Jim McDermott because I saw him on television the other night and I realized what a disgusting, filthy, murderous cock-sucker he was. What a criminal was, the idea that he said that poor people's money, poor people's money that the Government gives belongs to him. That reducing taxes on rich people is, in effect, a tax cut in effect, it affected the government spending program," one message says.

"Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, if any of them had ever met Jim McDermott, they would all blow his brains out. They'd shoot him in the head," the message says. "They'd kill him, because he's a piece of disgusting garbage ... He advocates stealing people's money to give it to losers."

According to the complaint, FBI agents visited Habermann at his California home on Dec. 10 and, they said, admitted to leaving the messages. Prosecutors had decided to charge Habermann "prior to the tragic events in Arizona," a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Seattle told TPM. A spokesman for the FBI did not return a request for comment.

Habermann also allegedly said he left more messages for another representative identified as "Congresswoman C.P."

"C.P." stands for Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a spokesman for her office confirmed. He said threatening messages were left at her Washington office, but were directed toward another member of Congress. The FBI and Capitol Police are investigating, he said. A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police said the force doesn't comment on threats to members.

Habermann allegedly made other threats, in March 2010, toward a member of the California state assembly. According to the FBI, Habermann left threatening messages after a meeting about health care legislation with the lawmaker's staff, a meeting during which Habermann was allegedly "agitated, paranoid, uneasy and couldn't keep still." Visited by the California Highway Patrol after the threats were received, Habermann said he had been high on medical marijuana at the time and got off with a warning.

If convicted, Habermann could face up to 10 years in prison.


Man Arrested For Making Death Threats Against Democratic Congressman Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Rachel Slajda. Photo via Getty. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.