Syracuse Congressman Reportedly Gets A Death Threat Over Net Neutrality

November 29, 2017

The U.S. Attorneys Office is reporting that Congressman John Katko (R, Syracuse) got a death threat voice mail, from an angry Syracuse man, who wanted the GOP congressman to vote a certain way. See full statement below from the U.S. Attorneys Office:

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Patrick D. Angelo, 28, of Syracuse, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with interstate communication of a threat, and threatening a federal official. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York in Rochester, the criminal complaint alleges that on Thursday, October 19, 2017, the Washington D.C. office of New York Congressman John Katko received a threatening voice mail that included a death threat to the Congressman and his family.

The message stated: “Listen Mr. Katko, if you support net neutrality, I will support you. But if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill…you…all. Do you understand?” The message continued: “I will literally find all…of…you and your progeny and t- just wipe you from the face of the earth. Net neutrality is more important than the defense of the United States. Net neutrality is more important than free speech. Net neutrality is more important than health care. Net neutrality is literally the basis of the new society. That even if you don’t understand, how important it is, net neutrality is literally the basis of the new…free…society. So if you don’t support it, I am willing to lay down my li- (recording ends).”

Congressman Katko’s office reported the voicemail to the United States Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, which began an investigation in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The telephone number that the call originated from traced back to the defendant.

“While citizens are certainly entitled to communicate their views on issues of importance to them to their elected officials, there are and must be bounds to the manner in which such views may be expressed, said U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “We will respond aggressively to those who overstep those bounds and seek to influence the making of Federal policies and legislation by making threats to the lives of those entrusted with such tasks and their families.”

As a result of the threat, security surrounding Congressman Katko was increased. Since Congressman Katko formerly served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of New York, that Office was recused, and the case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.

Angelo made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks and is being held pending a detention hearing on December 1, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Vadim Thomas, Special Agent-in-Charge, Albany Office, the New York State Police, under the Major Philip T. Rougeux, and the United States Capitol Police, under the direction of Matthew R. Verderosa.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.