June 7th, 2010
06:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Men charged with threatening Stupak

The envelope that contained a threatening letter addressed to Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak.
The envelope that contained a threatening letter addressed to Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak.

Washington (CNN) – Angry over Rep. Bart Stupak's decisive vote for health care reform, a man threatened to "... paint the Mackinaw Bridge with the blood of you and your family members ...," in an anonymous letter to the congressman last month, according to the U.S. Attorney in Michigan.

Russell Hesch, 73, of West Branch, Michigan, and his son, David Hesch, 50, of Loveland, Colorado, were charged with threatening to assault, kidnap or murder Stupak, a United States Official, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday by the U.S. Attorney.

Both men have been arrested and will appear in federal court in Bay City, Michigan and Denver, Colorado.

The complaint filed in the Eastern District of Michigan states that Russell Hesch, after initially denying involvement, confessed to writing the letter and then sending it to his son to forward to the congressman to avoid being identified. However, Russell Hesch had previously sent at least 55 emails and letters to the congressman between February 25, 2003 and May 4, 2010. And he was known by Stupak as one of his most vocal and critical constituents, according to the complaint.

The FBI determined the communications held similarities. A search warrant was executed on June 2, 2010, a week after the threatening letter was received by the Michigan Democrat's office.

The letter was signed "Sincerely, The Devil Within Us." According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Hesch stated in the letter that "[a]ctions and decisions carry consequences. Are you and your family prepared for consequences? Is your wife, Laurie Ann, prepared for those consequences? Is your son Ken and his family prepared for those consequences?"

Read the threatening letter and criminal complaint, after the jump:

The letter continued: "You wanted to get some paint for the bridge? Not to worry, I will paint the Mackinaw Bridge with the blood of you and your family members. I will not say when and with who but I will save your blood for the high towers toward the end of this project. You will live long enough to truly experience the unfortunate but definite consequences of your decision. You will watch your world slowly crumble and erode around you. Things that used to be important won't seem so important anymore."

Read the threatening letter criminal complaint here [pdf]

Stupak was then given two options in the letter, resigning and explaining that, regarding the health care vote, "you have reconsidered your actions and know it was wrong and under handed and did not represent the best interests of the American people" or consider taking his own life.

Stupak's vote was crucial in helping President Obama get the controversial legislation passed in the House. Stupak came under sharp criticism by opponents for supporting the bill. In the two-page letter, Hesch called the vote a "horrible and unconscionable mistake."

"Did you ever read the legislation? Do you have any clue to what the heck you are doing? Did you follow the math, when the projections were based on 10 years collecting taxes and only 6 years paying for the programs? You sir, have sold you sole to the devil. You have sold out the future of this country."


Filed under: Bart Stupak • Health care
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Peter

    Do we have to guess what party these folks belong to? of course not....definitely Republicans!!! DOMESTIC TERRORISTS!!! Always out to change the law and elections when it doesnt go their way!!! yall are traitors to the constituition and these United States of America!!!

    June 7, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Jim B

    Anarchy is on the rise thanks to such stupid public remarks as "Reload." by Palin and others in the Tea Party. It's OK to be conservative but not OK, illegal actually, to threaten people.

    June 7, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. scott from MICH

    Make an example of these Hate Mongors from the Right. this sick stuff is the outcome of Palin Cheney Paul Bachmaan Limbaugh and the rest of the right...fanning flames of hatred. They mislead and act as though we are back in the segregated south - or slave times. They want those days back and the Rest of us shouldn't stand for this crap

    June 7, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Stacie

    That has to be the most disturbing letter I've ever read! I'm so sorry for the Stupak family. No matter what your political leanings or even how you feel about health care reform. To have to read this letter, especially the cruel mention of your son's suicide, must have broken your heart Rep. Stupak. I'm in tears just thinking of what your family has gone through. I'm glad you're safe, and I'm glad these people will get be brought to justice!

    June 7, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Independent_me

    I betcha those stupid, selfish men have government-provided, socialist, health insurance!!

    June 7, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    And the Republicans denied Democrats were being threatened!

    June 7, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Ah – where would we be without the hate-filled rhetoric of the ignorant? People listen to their favorite radio nut-job, who only spews one point of view, who only tells them what they already want to hear, and they get a distorted view of the world.

    People like this hear half-truths and distortions, and take them at face-value. They see insanity in the government, when someone simply has a differing point of view.

    It just goes to show that you need to look up once in a while, put things into perspective, and try to see the other guy's point of view. You dont have to agree – but you really should understand.

    As for this particular idiot – I hope they lock him up and throw away the key.

    June 7, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Voice of Reason

    See what a Glenn Beck overdose will get you! Tell Rush to lay off the meds for a while and maybe give people the whole picture. So deluded idiots like this arent quite so misinformed.

    Meanwhile, I hope the guys at the FBI provided enough evidence to send this guy to jail for a long long time.

    June 7, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    Your right to swing your arm ends at my nose! Your right to "free speech" stops with violent threats ... Hesch apparently knew he was wrong because he didn't have the backbone to sign his name – then sent his son to do the dirty work.

    America must take its crackpots seriously because these days, they are more seriously cracked!

    June 7, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The Hesch's appear to be typical uninformed right wingnuts driven by Beck and the other anti American members of Fox media.

    June 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Fry them. While it is not a crime to be stupid, it is a crime to threaten government officials. I am sure the right wingnuts will embrace this form of treason.

    June 7, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. silvertop

    I disagree with Stupak's vote, but I absolutely disagree with this man's action to threat someone whom he disagree with. He and his son should be brought to face legal consequence.

    June 7, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. ehwilson429

    this is what happens when people feel cornered by the gov't.
    is it the right approach? – NO.
    but then Stupak lied to 'his' people.

    STUPAK SHOULD HAVE BEEN outed YEARS AGO AS A CAFETERIA CATHOLIC.

    June 7, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Thank You to the likes of Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and the rest of the ilk. They say crazy things that are totally false and don't expect someone to jump? The Tea Party crap is just the same thing. Fear, Racism and ignorance are a deadly combination. This will not end well!

    June 7, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. Discernment

    Make an example of these two. Give them the max.

    It is time "Joe (Stupid) Public" learns to be accountable for their threats against public official.

    June 7, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. The Big J

    What is it with these Tea Party types & their violent rhetoric? Why is it they always take the path of loud mouthed ignorance?

    June 7, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. a little sad

    This guy should spend the rest of his life in jail. His son should do some decent time.

    The rhetoric of hate and violence has to be stemmed. We have seen too many acts of violence encouraged by irresponsible persons in the media, in public office and some who have quit public office to expand their visibility.

    We cannot tolerate threats to our public officials. It attacks the bedrock of our democracy when people try to undo an elections through threats and intimidation.

    June 7, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  18. billybob 'n NC

    Just another example of the re-thuglicans rhetoric of hate and fear.

    June 7, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. librarian

    Typical of the lunatic fringe who is sooooo concerned about life.

    June 7, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. Shannon

    Don't you just love the the right. Violence is what they seem to crave, and ignorance abounds.

    June 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Now look whose going to suffer the consequences of what the Hesch's thought would never result in consequences for them. Throw the book at them and then throw away the key.

    June 7, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    This hatred that has seeped into our political discussion is a direct result of the politicians themselves. When representitives call their fellow representitive names and and say things like they are destroying America and need to be stopped or people like Palin say they have poltiicians in their ( rifle) sights we are telling the public its OK to go after our leaders.
    Make an example of these two men- throw them in jail as traitors and send a message- your actions have conscuences.

    June 7, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Susan L.

    Just another "isolated incident" that has nothing to do with the Tea Party, of course. Nothing to see here. As usual.

    June 7, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Stay Classy

    I'm willing to bet my house that these "men" were religious. Yay for hypocrisy!!

    June 7, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Marge

    I hope this will send a message to anybody who threatens ANY of our members of congress regardless of their political affiliation. And it is a shame that they can't go after the radio, TV, cable and other political individuals who encourage these kinds of actions.

    June 7, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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