Man who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges

A Florida man pleaded guilty to federal charges of threatening to kill Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Palm Beach Gardens resident Paul Vernon Hoeffer, 60, pleaded guilty to interstate transmission of threats to injure in federal court in Ft. Pierce, the DOJ stated. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison. 

In March of 2019, Hoeffer called the office of the Speaker, stating that he had come a “long way” to “rattle” her head with bullets and threatened to behead her. The DOJ also stated that he had called Ocasio-Cortez’s office in November 2020 and left a message threatening to kill her. 

According to the Justice Department, he also called Chicago District Attorney Kim Foxx (D) threatening to kill her. 

The 60-year-old also threatened to form a “civilian army” for “all-out war” in some of the calls, according to NBC News.

The news comes during a time where lawmakers have become increasingly concerned for their safety following both impeachments of former President Trump and the attack on the Capitol building over one year ago. 

Threats to members of Congress have increased over the past few years. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said they rose from 3,900 in 2017 to 9,600 last year, according to NBC.

A group of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, and shouted statements of violence against U.S. officials including Pelosi and former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Some could be heard in video from the day chanting “hang Mike Pence” after the former president tweeted that Pence had the ability to overturn the 2020 election results. 

Hoeffer’s sentencing, by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, will occur on April 1 in Ft. Pierce. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luisa Honora Berti.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Donald Trump Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi

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