September 28, 2022

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Hate-Motivated Threats Against a U.S. Member of Congress

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A Florida man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to threatening a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida made the announcement.

On April 19, David Hannon, 67, of Sarasota, entered a guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher P. Tuite to an information charging him with one count of threatening a federal official.

According to information presented at the guilty plea hearing, on July 16, 2019, while in Sarasota, Hannon sent an email to U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar threatening to kill her. Hannon sent the email following a televised press conference held by Representative Omar and three other U.S. Congresswomen. In his threatening email, which had a subject line that read, “[You’re] dead, you radical Muslim,” Hannon referred to Congresswoman Omar and the other Congresswomen of color as “radical rats,” and asked Congresswoman Omar if she was prepared “to die for Islam.” The email further stated that Hannon was going to shoot the Congresswomen in the head.

“Threatening to kill our elected officials, especially because of their race, ethnicity or religious beliefs, is offensive to our nation’s fundamental values,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who violate federal laws that prohibit violent, hate-motivated threats. All elected officials, regardless of their background, should be able to represent their communities and serve the public free from hate-motivated threats and violence.”

“No one should fear violence because of who they are or what they believe,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “Unlawful threats against our elected officials are an assault against our democracy, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek justice in these cases.”

The case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police, and is being prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Claire Favorit for the Middle District of Florida.  

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