A federal judge has ordered an eight-month imprisonment to a man in California for threatening to kill United States congressman Jim McDermott of Washington state in 2010. Aside from the imprisonment, the judge also ordered Charles Turner Habermann, 33, to pay more than $54,000 as penalty to his crime. Aided by his lawyer, Habermann, of Palm Springs, earlier pleaded guilty to his pending criminal case of threatening a federal official in order to get a lower penalty for his crime.
“Violence and threats of violence are meant to silence debate. They have no place in our political discourse,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said. “Regardless of what positions they take on the issues, public officials and the people who work for them should not have to fear that they are putting their lives in danger simply by going to work and doing their jobs,” Durkan added.
Based on court records, Habermann left a pair of threatening, expletive-laced messages for McDermott, a Democrat, in December 2010. It was learned that during that time McDermott was taking a stand against the extension of tax cuts first signed into law by former President George W. Bush, which the congressman opposed because he felt they mainly benefited the wealthy.
Habermann threatened to kill McDermott in one of the calls, and in the second he said he would hire someone to put him “in the trash.” A two-year tax cut extension ultimately was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.