U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott Threatened With Death: SoCal Man Charles Turner Habermann Arrested

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Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM

click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.
  • U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.
Updates with a minor correction (as a result of erroneous info from federal authorities in Seattle) after the jump.

Following the massacre in Tucson over the weekend that apparently targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Southern California man was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Washington state Congressman Jim McDermott.

Federal authorities say 32-year-old Charles Turner Habermann of Palm Springs was arrested Wednesday morning after he made two "expletive-laden" calls to the Seattle office of McDermott in December.

FBI agents alleged the man threatened to kill the congressman, his friends and family and hire someone to put the politician "in the trash."

The suspect was scheduled to be in court in Riverside Wednesday afternoon.

What do authorities say set Habermann off? McDermott's co-authoring of a bill to extend unemployment benefits.

Fixed: In a statement, federal officials say Habermann has had another run-in with a politician: They say in March he walked into the office of an unnamed California Assembly congressional rep and was unruly enough that he was escorted out.

Fixed: They say he then left two voicemail messages at that office that inspired a warning to him from the California Highway Patrol authorities.

If convicted, Habermann could see 10 years behind bars.

Obligatory quote from law enforcement -- Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan:

"We are blessed to live in a country that guarantees and protects the freedom to disagree with our government and speak our minds. That protection, however, does not extend to threats or acts of violence. Those actions are intended to silence debate, not further it. They instill fear not just in the immediate victims, but in many who might hold the same views or take the same course. Such threats are crimes, and the individuals who make them must be held accountable."

First posted at 12:12 p.m.

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