A California man has been sentenced to six months in house arrest after federal authorities arrested him for making violent threats against Florida Congressman Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
On Thursday, the United States Attorney’s Office for Northern Florida announced that Eugene Huelsman, 59, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., received his sentence in a count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. The case stems from a threatening voice message Huelsman left at Gaetz’s office last year.
“Tell [Gaetz] to watch his back, tell him to watch his kids,” Huelsman said in the Jan. 9, 2021 message, which Politico said was played in court Thursday, according to a defense attorney. “I will [expletive] kill him. … I’ll put a bullet in you and I’ll put a bullet in one of you [expletive] children too.”
After receiving Huelsman’s call, Gaetz’s associates reported it to the U.S. Capitol Police, who learned that this was not Huelsman’s first violent threat a political figure. Huelsman had previously been investigated by the US Secret Service for making threats against a former president’s family. NBC News reported that the threat was directed at Donald Trump Jr. in 2018.
Huelsman, who, according to Politico, was a Hollywood cinematographer and received five Emmy nominations for his work on NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien, was motivated by his anger at Gaetz in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot call.
Huelsman’s attorney, Curtis Fallgatter, noted that his client was “very apologetic and remorseful” for his actions and said it was Gaetz’s support of the rioters that incensed him.
But US Attorney Jason Coody made it clear that no amount of frustration with politicians could justify threatening them with violence.
“Today’s verdict recognizes the defendant’s repeated threats of violence and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would threaten violence against others rather than engage in a legitimate debate,” Coody said.
“Words matter,” said Sherri E. Onks, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division. “Everyone has the right to speak their mind, but if you harass, intimidate and threaten violence with others, it is a federal crime that will not be tolerated.”
Gaetz himself remains under federal control. Gaetz has been under investigation since last year for alleged sex trafficking of underage girls, an allegation he has vehemently denied.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/california-man-receives-sentence-threats-against-matt-gaetz-1835984?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution California man convicted of threatening Matt Gaetz