House

Man pleads guilty to stalking, trying to ‘kill and kidnap’ Oklahoma Republican

Greg Nash

An Oklahoma man on Wednesday pleaded guilty to threatening to kidnap and assault Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and his wife as well as to charges of cyberstalking.

Keith Eisenberger, 39, entered a plea agreement after prosecutors said he called for Hern’s execution, threatened to kidnap him and his wife and angrily yelled at the congressman’s staff over the phone and in person at Hern’s Washington, D.C., and Tulsa offices, according to court documents.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate online threats of violence meant to intimidate elected officials or members of our community,”  U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “Keith Eisenberger now understands there are legal repercussions to committing these criminal acts.”

The plea agreement suggests a three-year sentence.

Oklahoma’s governor appointed Hern to the House seat in November 2018 after he won an election to succeed former Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R), who resigned to become NASA administrator, for a term beginning the following January. 

A criminal complaint states Eisenberger, who was previously known to show up uninvited to Oklahoma political events to gain close proximity to politicians, believed Hern stole the seat, so Eisenberg began threatening the congressman’s staff over the phone before showing up at Hern’s D.C. and Tulsa offices.

“Kevin Hern and the State of Oklahoma deserve a final consequence of U.S. justice served that leads them to an end by federal execution,” Eisenberger wrote in a November 2020 Facebook post, according to the complaint.

“If that satisfaction is not feasible, resignation, death or expulsion of Rep. Kevin Hern is acceptable.”

The Hill has reached out to Hern’s office for comment.

The complaint says investigators found dozens of concerning posts. Eisenberger in October stated in a now-deleted Facebook video that he was going to assault Hern, and in May Eisenberger made a post detailing hopes to kidnap the congressman and his wife.

At times, Hern was provided extra security in response to Eisenberger’s threats.

“While the First Amendment gives us the right to express our own opinions, it does not protect those who cross the line of making violent criminal threats,” said Edward Gray, FBI Oklahoma City special agent in charge. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure elected officials can perform the duties of their office safely.”

Tags Cybersecurity threats death threat Department of Justice FBI Jim Bridenstine Keith Eisenberger Kevin Hern Kevin Hern Oklahoma
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