A Florida man pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
According to a plea agreement, David Hannon, 67, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, sent an email to Omar in July 2019 after Omar and three other members of Congress held a televised news conference criticizing then-President Trump.
Hannon entered a guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher P. Tuite to a single count of threatening a federal official with the intent to intimidate and impede Omar, and retaliate against her for performing her official duties. The maximum prison sentence is 10 years and a $250,00 fine.
The plea agreement says that Hannon sent an email to Omar threatening violence against her and two congressional colleagues of color, who he referred to as radical rats because of Omar's comments on social issues involving women and minorities.
U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg, of the Middle District of Florida said in a statement Tuesday that no one should fear violence because of who they are or what they believe. We will work with our law enforcement partners to find justice in cases of unlawful threats against our elected officials. The email's subject that read You re dead, you radical Muslim, and Hannon wrote that he was going to shoot the lawmakers, including Omar, in the head.
He said that Omar should get more security, or within a week you and the other three radical rats will be six feet under. Hannon wrote that this is not a threat but fact, but Hannon asked whether Omar, who is Muslim, is ready to die for Islam and ready to get out of our country. Days before, Trump, who campaigned for re-election, had launched a tirade on Twitter, saying that progressive women in Congress should go back and try to fix the crime in places they originally came from before criticizing how the U.S. government handled its problems.
Omar s staff immediately contacted federal investigators over the fear that Hannon would carry out violence, according to the plea agreement. The email was sent from Hannon's personal account, investigators said.
Since the email threat in 2019, Hannon's lawyer, Michael Perry, defended his client's record: Outside of that one incident, there has been no follow-throughs with any of the threats he made, there has been no more threats, nothing at all, he said.
Omar's office didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.
Omar was sworn in office in 2019 as the first African refugee elected to Congress after she fled to Somalia in 1995. Omar is one of the first women of color to represent Minnesota and one of the first Muslim American women elected to Congress.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement that Threatening to kill elected officials is offensive to our nation's fundamental values. All elected officials, regardless of background, should be able to represent their communities and serve the public free from hate-motivated threats and violence.