A former camera operator for CNN was sentenced to six months of house arrest, five years of parole and a $10,000 fine for threatening to “put a bullet” in Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday.
Eugene Huelsman, 59, of Thousand Oaks, California, pleaded guilty to a charge of transmission of a threat in interstate commerce, according to Jason Coody, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Huelsman, who had worked for CNN, ABC and NBC as a cameraman, had called Gaetz’ office and left a threatening voicemail on Jan. 9, 2021, three days after the Capitol incident.
The DOJ described the voicemail, saying he threatened to “put a bullet in” Gaetz and “members of his family.” Huelsman also said he was “coming for” him and that he hoped the Florida Republican would “die in a shallow grave.”
Fox News would produce a partial transcript of the highly disturbing and profane audio in October.
“Tell Matt Gaetz to watch his back,” he said. “Tell him to watch his children. Tell him to watch everyone. I’m coming for him. He’s gonna f—ing die. He’s a f—ing despicable f—ing tyrant. And I’m gonna f—ing kill him.
“I’m gonna f—ing kill you, f—ing Matt Gaetz. You’re f—ing despicable. You’re f—ing despicable. Play this f—ing recording for Matt Gaetz. You’re f—ing despicable. Watch your back, you f—ing pig. I’m gonna f—ing plant a bullet in the back of your f—ing head, you scum f—.”
Gaetz’s office contacted Capitol Police after hearing the message, according to the DOJ, and investigators were able to identify Huelsman as the caller.
“The investigation revealed this was not the first time Huelsman made threats involving political figures. Huelsman had previously been investigated by the United States Secret Service for threatening a member of a former president’s family on social media,” the release said without providing any further details.
The arrest came the same week that Gaetz had taken to the House floor, bringing allegations that threats against his life were not being taken seriously by the DOJ.
“I think someone may be trying to kill me. And if they are successful, I would like my constituents and my family to know who stopped their arrest.” he said on October 20.
He alleged that while the Capitol Police had made a recommendation that the person who threatened him be arrested, the DOJ had declined to do so.
Gaetz accused the DOJ of being “biased against Republicans.”
Sherri Onks, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville Division in Florida, said of Huelsman, “Words matter, and this sentencing should serve as a warning.”
“Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but when you harass, intimidate, and threaten violence against others, it’s a federal crime that will not be tolerated,” Onks said. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will work to hold you accountable.”
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