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New York man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Omar

A New York man pleaded guilty to charges he threatened to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York announced Monday. 

Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, could face up to 10 years in prison and have to pay $250,000 after pleading guilty to threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and being a felon in possession of firearms. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, according to the office release.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. said in the release this case demonstrates that free speech does not protect people to "make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them."

Sonya A. Zoghlin, Carlineo's attorney, told The Hill in a statement that her client did not intend to cause harm to Omar and did not make plans to do so.

"Pat Carlineo is passionate about his political beliefs and his right to express them," she said in an email. "He has taken responsibility for using threatening and inappropriate language to express those beliefs in this instance."

Carlineo was arrested in April for a March 21 phone call he reportedly made to Omar's office, in which he said he'd put a "bullet in her f---ing skull." 

The office referred the call to U.S. Capitol Police, who worked with the FBI to investigate. When Carlineo was approached, he told police he supported Trump and hates radical Muslims in government. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shortly after the arrest linked the incident to Fox News host jeanine pirro's comments on Omar's hijab.

Omar asked for compassion during Carlineo's sentencing in a letter posted on Twitter Tuesday, saying she did not think a severe sentence would be helpful. She added, "We must teach the defendant love."

"But we must ask: who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves? " she wrote in her letter. "The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion." 

 

Updated at 1:23 p.m. 

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