What are the details?
Joseph Francis Morelli pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of interstate threatening communications in connection with a series of voicemails he left on March 3 at the Washington, D.C., office of the Georgia Republican, The Hill said.
“I just don’t think I can go on letting you, you know, cause hatred and poison to people,” he said in an 11:11 p.m. message, The Hill said, citing court documents. “I really think I’m gonna have to cause you harm — physical harm.”
In the same call, Morelli also said, “l’m gonna have to take your life into my own hands. I’m gonna hurt you. Physically, I’m gonna harm you,” The Hill reported.
At 11:18 p.m. Morelli left another message threatening to “pay someone 500 bucks to take a baseball bat and crack your skull,” The Hill said.
Citing an affidavit, the New York Times said it was during the second “obscenity-laced” voicemail that Morelli spelled out his name, dictated his phone number, and repeated the threat. “My name is Joseph Morelli, M-O-R-E-L-L-I,” he said, according to Insider, which cited court documents.
At 11:24 p.m., Morelli left a third voicemail, The Hill noted: “I’m gonna make sure that, even if they lock me up, someone’s gonna get you ’cause I’ll pay them to.”
Court documents also indicated that Morelli also dared Greene to press charges, saying it would give him a chance in court to say “how bad you are for humanity,” Insider added.
Citing an FBI agent’s affidavit, the Times added that investigators were able trace the messages to the 51-year-old upstate New York man’s phone.
Morelli is under house arrest until his June 1 sentencing, Insider said, adding that he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Times said Greene’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the paper added that Greene “has been criticized for using inflammatory language herself and for liking social media posts before her election to Congress that endorsed the execution of top Democratic politicians.”
More from the Times:
Gabrielle DiBella, a federal public defender who represented Mr. Morelli in the case, declined to comment on the plea. In a letter filed with the court last month, she said he had spent the past 10 months receiving treatment for the mental illness that she cited as the “root cause of his criminal activity.”
Mr. Morelli, Ms. DiBella wrote, had been unable to hold a steady job and was forced to rely on disability benefits after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had kept busy since his arrest by restoring guitars that he hoped to sell online, she added.
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