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A self-described “patriot” pleaded guilty Monday to threatening to shoot U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, in the “fucking skull.”
Patrick Carlineo, 55, could face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines after pleading guilty to the threat-related charges in a Rochester, New York, court Monday, according to the Associated Press. Carlineo was arrested in April on allegations that he called the Democrat’s offices in March, called the Minnesota congresswoman a terrorist, and finally threatened to put a “bullet in her fucking skull.” He then spelled his name and offered his contact information to the office.
Omar’s office promptly reported the threat to the U.S. Capitol Police, which began an investigation with the FBI in turn.
At the time of the call, Carlineo possessed a .45-caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his home in western New York. He was a previously convicted felon, so it was illegal for him to keep those firearms.
Carlineo’s attorney told the Associated Press, however, that he never actually intended to harm Omar and never made plans to do so.
Instead, Carlineo told investigators that he loved President Donald Trump, hated Muslims, and considered himself a patriot, according to a criminal complaint. He believed Omar was working for Hamas and that her election was illegitimate.
Omar has been threatened several times since her election to Congress, and Trump himself has repeatedly continued to attacked her, anyway. In February, someone scrawled “assassinate Ilhan Omar” on the wall of a Minnesota gas station. Then, in April, Trump tweeted a video of Omar speaking interspersed with footage from the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That caused a deluge of death threats, too. North Dakota state Sen. Oley Larsen said in a Facebook post last month that a photo of a woman holding a rifle and wearing a headscarf was Omar, and then falsely described her as being at an “Al Qaida training camp in Somalia.”
“This prosecution highlights the fact that the rights secured in our Constitution carry with them certain responsibilities,” James Kennedy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, said in a statement. “The First Amendment right to freedom of speech carries with it the responsibility that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them. The Second Amendment right to bear arms carries with it the responsibility that individuals who desire to possess firearms not commit felony crimes.”
Carlineo’s sentencing is set for February 14.
Cover: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks at a town hall in South Minneapolis on ICE and the administration's immigration detention policies, at the Colin Powell Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)