A Florida attorney is facing federal charges after he made a death threat to Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) last fall.
Civitas Media reports that Jordan along with his family and staff were not harmed. The threat happened in October during the federal government shutdown.
Theodore Mack, of Tallahassee, Florida, pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of transmitting threatening messages via email. The crime carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine, or both. Mack was arraigned on February 6th and released. His trial is set for March 10th.
Mack’s attorney, Thomas Powell, said Mack used poor judgment and wants to apologize to Jordan for causing him concern.
On October 14th, Mack used a fake name and address and sent a message through Jordan’s website. The message said, "Your Tea Party s—- is hurting me, so now I am going to hurt your family. Get ready [Jim Jordan] I am coming after you and all members of your family. You can’t hide from an Army ranger who is well armed and doesn’t care if he dies."
Mack used a fake name and address, making it look like he lived near Jordan’s Norwalk constituent office. Mack believed that by using the name of a non-existent person and a made-up address, his message would immediately be recognized as a hoax.
Instead, the threat shut down the Norwalk office for two days said Jordan's Chief of Staff, Ray Yonkura.
When the message came in, Jordan had a skeleton crew in Washington and his Ohio offices because of the shutdown. The message was sent immediately to U.S. Capitol Police to be assessed. The agency immediately responded, Yonkura said, considering it a credible threat, and moved quickly to make sure Jordan, his family, and staff were safe and accounted for.
"The language was plain and the threat felt very real," Yonkura said. "The address was close to the Norwalk office, and that heightened the threat in our minds."
Jordan’s staff has referred only a handful of messages to Capitol Police for assessment in Jordan’s seven years in Congress. This is the first incident that led to a prosecution. Yonkura said Jordan is now letting the process play out.
"We give all the credit to law enforcement officials and how quickly they responded, how thorough and professional they were. Within a matter of days they had this investigated," Yonkura said. "We’re just trying to be as helpful as we can and let people do their jobs."
Powell characterized Mack as a "gentle and compassionate person who has devoted much of his personal and professional time to helping the less fortunate and disadvantaged among us."
During the budget crisis and shutdown, Mack wanted to drive the point that representatives’ actions have consequences for those they represent, Powell said.
"Obviously, he used extremely poor judgment, but what he did was borne out of frustration, not malice, and he deeply regrets the effect of his actions," Powell said.