U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced this week that Salvatore Lippa II, 57, of Greece, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with threating to assault and murder a federal official on account of the performance of their official duties, and interstate communication of a threat. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean C. Eldridge, the criminal complaint alleges that on January 23, 2020, the Washington D.C. office of California Congressman Adam Schiff received a threatening voice mail that included a death threat to the Congressman.
On February 4, 2020, the Albany, NY, office of New York Senator Charles Schumer received a threatening voice mail that also contained a death threat to the Senator.
The threats were reported to the United States Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, which began an investigation. The telephone number that both the calls originated from was traced back to the defendant. When questioned by Special Agents from the United States Capitol Police, Lippa admitted to making the threatening calls to Congressman Schiff and Senator Schumer because he was upset about the impeachment proceedings.
“The rights secured in our Constitution carry with them certain responsibilities,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “When it comes to the First Amendment, that responsibility includes the obligation not to threaten to kill others. This Office will remain vigilant in our effort to uphold the rule of law and to reinforce the ideal that in America the entire concept of self-governance is fundamentally predicated on the responsibility that each of us has to control and govern our own behaviors.”
The defendant is scheduled to make an initial appearance this afternoon at 3:45 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the United States Capitol Police, under the direction of Chief Steven A. Sund, with assistance from the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick D. Phelan, and the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Charles Salina.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.