California Man Sentenced for Threats Against Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz

A California man on Thursday was sentenced by a federal judge to six months home confinement for threats made against Florida U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01).

Eugene Huelsman was previously charged with one count of transmission of a threat in interstate commerce.

“The free exercise of speech is central to our democracy,” stated U.S. Attorney Jason Coody. “However, the communication of threats of physical violence, in this case by an individual who had previously made and been investigated for similar threats of violence, is clearly unlawful. With our law enforcement partners, we are committed to protecting public safety for all citizens. Today’s sentence acknowledges the defendant’s repeated threats of violence and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would threaten violence against others rather than engage in lawful debate.”

According to the Department of Justice, Huelsman called the congressman’s office and left a message that included violent threats on January 9, 2021. The law enforcement agency detailed that the California resident threatened to “put a bullet in” Gaetz and his family. Furthermore, Huelsman added that he was “coming for” the Republican lawmaker. Finally, the man wished Gaetz would “die in a shallow grave.”

More concerning, Huelsman’s threats against Gaetz were not the first incident of potential political violence. The U.S. Secret Service previously investigated the man for threats against a former President.

“Words matter,” added Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, “and this sentencing should serve as a warning. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but when you harass, intimidate, and threaten violence against others, it’s a federal crime that will not be tolerated. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will work to hold you accountable.”

In addition to the home confinement, Huelsman will be subjected to probation for five years and a $10,000 fine.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Matt Gaetz” by Ike Hayman. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Carol M. Highsmith.

 

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