Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Grand jury indicts California man for attempted murder of Justice Kavanaugh

Police officers  outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on June 8.
Police officers outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home in Chevy Chase, Md., on June 8. Photo: Bonnie Cash/Getty Images

A federal grand jury indicted a California man on federal charges of attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The man, identified as Nicholas Roske, 26, was arrested near Kavanaugh's Maryland home with a handgun and burglary tools last week after he allegedly told law enforcement authorities that he traveled to Maryland intending to kill the justice.

  • If convicted, Roske faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison for attempting to assassinate a justice of the U.S., though the Justice Department said the actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

A criminal complaint issued against Roske last week claimed that he, after seeing police officers in front of Kavanaugh's house, called 911 and told the operator that he had a firearm, was having suicidal thoughts and had traveled from California to kill Kavanaugh.

  • He was arrested by Montgomery County Police Department officers while still on the line.
  • In a backpack Roske was allegedly wearing, law enforcement officials found a black tactical vest and tactical knife, a pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar, pistol light, duct tape, hiking boots with padding on the outside of the soles.
  • The complaint claimed that Roske later told detectives that he was upset by the leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The big picture: The House passed legislation this week that would expand Supreme Court Police protection to justices' families, which in part was prompted by protests outside the homes of conservative justices over the court's upcoming abortion ruling.

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