Oct 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty after Rep. Swalwell death threats

Rep. Eric Swalwell departs from the U.S. Capitol Building on Sept. 30. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A Pennsylvania man pled guilty Friday to making threats to kill a member of Congress, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.

Driving the news: Joshua Hall, 22, was accused of making a series of calls from New York to the California office of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and making threats to kill the congressman to at least three different staffers.

Details: Hall pled guilty to one count of making interstate communications with a threat to injure, per the DOJ. The offense carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

  • During the calls, Hall claimed he had AR-15 rifles and said that he wanted to shoot the congressman; that he intended to come to Swalwell's office with firearms; and that if he saw the congressman, he would kill him, per the Department of Justice.

Of note: At the time of the threats, Hall was on pretrial release for a separate charge. He allegedly impersonated family members of then-President Donald Trump on social media to fraudulently raise funds for a fictitious political organization. 

  • Hall pled guilty to one count of wire fraud stemming from the scheme, which could carry a 20-year prison sentence. 

What they're saying: "Joshua Hall made terrifying threats to the staff of a United States Congressman whom he disliked rather than attempting to effect change through any of the freedoms of expression that all Americans enjoy," said Damian Williams, a U.S. Attorney, in the DOJ statement.

  • "These threats of violence endanger our public officials and thwart common decency, which is why this Office will continue to prosecute crimes like those committed by Joshua Hall."

What's next: Hall is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8.

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