House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio wraps up a news conference on his legislative agenda, March 26, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Man charged with threatening Speaker John Boehner

An Indiana man has been charged with threatening House Speaker John Boehner over the House GOP’s refusal to extend unemployment benefits.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph Hogsett confirmed that federal charges were filed Friday against Brandon James Thompson. “Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy but threats of violence have no place in our civil society,” Hogsett said in a statement. “People who are inclined to make them need to know that they violate the law and they will be aggressively pursued.”

According to the criminal complaint, obtained by NBC News, Thompson allegedly threatened Boehner over email and in a voicemail left on the speaker’s wife’s cell phone.

An email, which was received by Boehner’s office on April 1, said, in part, “YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH 2.7 MILLION PEOPLES LIVES I AM GOING TO TAKE YOURS YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT COMING WITH MY SNIPER RIFLE WERE YOU SOON.”

A month later, Boehner’s wife received two voice mails, both threatening to “rip his f***ing head off” for not extending jobless benefits. “He’s not untouchable, I will get my hands on him,” the second message said.

Benefits for long-term unemployed Americans expired on Dec. 28, and millions of Americans have been steadily losing unemployment insurance since then. Nearly 3 million Americans are currently considered to be “long-term unemployed.” Despite repeated attempts to resurrect the program and restore assistance, measures have not been able to pass the House. 

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Man charged with threatening Speaker John Boehner