A New York man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to threatening to kill Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) if he didn’t support net neutrality.
Federal prosecutors announced that 28-year-old Patrick Angelo, of Syracuse, N.Y., pleaded to a charge of interstate communication of a threat after leaving Katko a threatening voicemail in October.
Angelo now faces the possibility of five years in prison.
“By making threats to the lives of Congressman Katko and his family, the defendant potentially faces not only a significant prison sentence but also, as a convicted felon, a loss of his right to vote,” U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said in a statement. “Ironically, yet fittingly, by abandoning rationale discourse and resorting to threats against a public official, the defendant has essentially rendered himself a mute in the political process.”
Officials say Angelo threatened to kill Katko and his family if he didn’t try to save the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules.
“Listen Mr. Katko, if you support net neutrality, I will support you,” Angelo said in a voicemail left with Katko’s Washington, D.C., office, according to prosecutors. “But if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill … you … all. Do you understand?”
The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules in December, but the move faces legal and legislative challenges from Democrats and other net neutrality supporters.