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Man Who Threatened Federal Judge Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

July 20, 2021 by Tom Ramstack

A man who threatened a federal judge presiding over prosecution of a Trump national security adviser was sentenced in Washington, D.C. Monday to 18 months in prison.

Frank J. Caporusso, a 53-year-old electronic parts salesman, had pleaded guilty to threatening U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in a voice message left on his phone at U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“We are trained military people. We will be on rooftops. You will not be safe. A hot piece of lead will cut through your skull,” said the May 2020 message that was played in court.

It also said, “We’ll start cutting down your staff. This is not a threat. This is a promise.”

At the time, Sullivan oversaw the trial of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned after 22 days amid reports that he lied about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The Russians were accused of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

In 2017, Flynn agreed in a plea bargain to plead guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI. The charges against him later were dismissed and Trump pardoned him.

Nevertheless, the case inflamed resentment by Trump’s supporters, one of whom was Caporusso.

At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden said Caporusso “intended to subvert the criminal justice system by intimidating [Sullivan] against continuing to preside over a high-profile case.”

“It was nothing less than an attack on our system of government,” McFadden said. “[Sullivan] is a patriot. He did not deserve this, and he certainly does not deserve to live in fear because of your actions.”

Caporusso expressed remorse for his threat and explained that he was intoxicated. He pleaded guilty to one count of influencing, impeding or retaliating against a federal official.

The case is U.S. v. Caporusso, case number 1:20-cr-00171, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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