Florida man sentenced for making violent threats to Pelosi and AOC
A Florida man was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for making violent threats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx.
Driving the news: Paul Vernon Hoeffer, 60, pleaded guilty in January to threatening to cut Pelosi's head off "Jihadist style" and calling Ocasio-Cortez to tell her he would "rip her head off," according to Politico.
Details: In a March 2019 call, Hoeffer threatened to come a "long, long way" to rattle Pelosi's head with bullets.
- Around that time, he called Foxx, who is Black, and used a racial slur to convey that bullets were going to "rattle her brain."
- In November 2020, he left a recording for Ocasio-Cortez telling her to sleep with one eye open and that she "should have been aborted."
- Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 3.5 years in prison, but Hoeffer's defense requested leniency, citing his recent diagnosis with an aggressive form of cancer, per Politico
The big picture: Congress members have faced increasing threats in recent years, especially after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- The Capitol Police reported 4,135 threats against members of Congress in the first three months of 2021.
- Women politicians are particularly vulnerable. Researchers have found that they face more personal online attacks compared to their male counterparts, and it's worse if they're also from racial, ethnic, religious or other minority groups.
- Many lawmakers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal security.