A New York man has pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. pleaded guilty Monday before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to charges of threatening to assault and kill the Minnesota congresswoman and for being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of New York said in a statement.

According to the statement, Carlineo was arrested April 5 after making a phone call to Omar’s office on March 21 threatening to “put a bullet in her … skull” and accusing her of being a Muslim terrorist.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy said the case highlights the fact that the First Amendment right to the freedom of speech “carries with it the responsibility that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them.”

Carlineo’s attorney, Sonya Zoghlin, described her client in an emailed statement following his arrest as “passionate” about his political beliefs but “at no point did he intend to harm congresswoman Omar or make any plans to bring about that result.”

Following Carlineo’s call, Omar’s office referred the treat to U.S. Capitol Police who began an investigation in coordination with the FBI.

The Attorney’s Office said Carlineo made the threatening call against Omar, D-Minn., because of “her performance of her official duties.”

Carlineo was in possession of a .45 caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the time of his arrest. He was prohibited from owning weapons due to his 1998 conviction of Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.

Carlineo, who faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb 14.
“This office remains vigilant in upholding the rule of law and reinforcing the notion that — above all else — our nation’s founders viewed self-governance as the responsibility that each citizen has to control and govern their own behaviour,” Kennedy said.

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