New York man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar
A New York man pleaded guilty on Monday to threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar in March, prosecutors said.
Patrick W. Carlineo, Jr., 55, of Addison, a village southwest of Ithaca, pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder a United States official, and being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York said in a statement.
Carlineo faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14.
Carlineo was arrested in April for the March 21 call to the offices of Omar, a Democrat who represents Minnesota.
During the call, he asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, called Omar a “terrorist” and said, “somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull," the prosecutor’s office said. Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
The staff member who reported the call recalled that he said, "I'll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull," the U.S. attorney's office said.
Carlineo's attorney, Sonya Zoghlin, said in an email to The Associated Press that Carlineo never intended to harm Omar.
"He has taken responsibility for using threatening and inappropriate language to express those beliefs in this instance," Zoghlin said.
Carlineo is a convicted felon and possessed a loaded .45-caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his home, prosecutors said. He was convicted of criminal mischief in 1998 and was legally barred from possessing a firearm.
James P. Kennedy, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, said the case highlights that rights of free speech carry responsibilities.
"The First Amendment right to freedom of speech carries with it the responsibility that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them," Kennedy said in a statement. "The Second Amendment right to bear arms carries with it the responsibility that individuals who desire to possess firearms not commit felony crimes."