Man charged with threatening Congress members over phone

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 21, 2019

A man from Florida was arrested Thursday for allegedly leaving voicemails threatening to kill three Democratic lawmakers. Cory Booker of New Jersey and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of MI received the messages laden with profanity and racist comments, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

In all three messages, Kless referenced his hatred for Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar - repeatedly calling her a "towel head" and a member of the Taliban. President Donald Trump seized on Omar's remark that "some people did something" on 9/11 to post a video of her interspersed with images of the terrorist attack. During a speech about Islamophobia, Omar had referred to 9/11 in a way that some felt was dismissive. She and Omar are first Muslim women elected to Congress, officials said. You're lucky they're just threats, motherfucker. So are you. All right? Your life will be on the f--ing line.

The message left for Tlaib was particularly egregious. 'I'd like to take that b**** and throw her right off the Empire State Building, that f*****g whore. Tell her to shut her fucking mouth.

'So tell her to shut the f*** up, all right?' he continued. He called Tlaib "Taliban", and Omar a "towel head". He ranted about 9/11, "illegals coming in", and used the n-word to describe people on welfare, prosecutors said.

"F-- off. I wish all of you the worst". F-k you and f-k Mohammed too. Swalwell has focused much of his presidential campaign on gun control. Kless reportedly said if Swalwell enacted gun-safety laws, someone would kill the lawmaker. According to the complaint, Kless also called Swalwell the "n-word", although Swalwell is white.

"The day you come after our guns, motherfucker, is the day you'll be dead", Kless said, according to a federal indictment. "You're gonna die. Don't wanna do that shit, boy". Don't wanna do that shit, boy. "So if you want death, keep that shit up, motherfucker".

Kless appeared in court Friday and has been released, according to the court docket.

"We need to kill all you", he said, according to the transcript. "We need to kill all you motherfuckers, man, every fucking one of you, man". He also allegedly defended the white supremacist who rammed his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, US media reported. "Shut up about 9/11 and shut the (unintelligible) and tell that mother-ing towel head to shut the f- up". You'll be [on] your death bed, motherfucker, along with the rest of you Democrats. Don't you worry, you government officials will be in the graves where you f--ing belong.

Investigators traced the phone number to Kless, who lives in Tamarac, Florida, the complaint said.

John Kless is a Florida man charged with threatening Senator Cory Booker and Reps.

Prosecutors said Kless's last threatening phone call of the day Tuesday was made to Sen. He moved to South Florida in 2015. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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