April 7th, 2010
08:09 PM ET
13 years ago

FBI: Man arrested for threatening House speaker


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a leading figure in Democratic efforts to win congressional approval of a new health care bill. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - (CNN) - A 48-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the FBI announced.

The arrest occurred in San Francisco, California, where Pelosi's home district is located, according to FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler. He identified the suspect as Gregory L. Giusti, but no further details were immediately available.

FBI spokeswoman Patti Hansen said charges against the suspect would be revealed at a court hearing Thursday. She declined to provide any further details of the case.

Pelosi is the top Democrat in the U.S. House and was a leading figure in efforts to win congressional approval of sweeping health care legislation.

A statement from Pelosi's office said the arrest occurred "after an investigation into threats against" the speaker. It thanked law enforcement officials and said Pelosi would have no further comment at this time.

Threats against U.S. senators and representatives increased as Congress completed work last month on the health care bill, which was unanimously opposed by Republicans. In addition, conservative activists around the country protested the bill.

Most of the reported threats were against Democrats, though there were some against Republicans.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a 64-year-old Washington state resident for allegedly issuing death threats against Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who supported the health care bill.

A department statement said the suspect, identified as Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Washington, made the threats in phone messages to Murray's office between March 22 and April 4.

Wilson allegedly stated that Murray "had a target on her back" and that he wanted to kill her, according to the statement, which said the threats were in response to congressional passage of the new health care bill.

Threatening a federal official is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the Justice Department statement said.

Updated: 8:09 p.m.

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soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. John

    I dont' agree with it but I've been saying something like this would happen every since Pelosi ridiculed the opposition last summer and It's only going to get worse.

    I tried to warn people about this.

    April 7, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. Repugnants are the US Taliban

    Typical Republican morons all of them, they all need brain transplants but I think they are incapable of being able to bear a brain, their immune system would probably attack and kill it, after all they evolved without a brain for a reason, they are Republican slugs, nothing but bottom feeders each and every one, just take a look at Palin for example!

    April 7, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Steve Lyons

    I bet the British felt just like Nancy does these days. Shame on her for voting through such a criminal bill.

    April 7, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  4. mother in Pa

    Why is this a republican thing? Civility left the political arena and has been built up thru the democratic labels and entitlements. It has been every bit a part of the democratic party. Even our president vocalized blame publically on Bush and was verbally out of line to the Supreme Court at his televised Stae of the Union address. Don't you remember the Obama supporters are his ignauguration "booing" Bush? How classless and how aggravating that it forces a response from republicans It is time for manners and civility in politics BUT it needs to start with the mouthy dems right up to the President himself.

    April 7, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Woody Williams

    I can't wait until the day when the "speaker of the house" is gone and forgotten-can you at CNN be so out of touch that you agree with ANYTHING that idiot says. Your help with obama's election shows how out of touch you really are. We god's grace, we will put an end to this socialist crap that this white house has started with your help. I only watch your program to see just how biased you are. By the way, who do you think is going to pay for this health care reform?

    April 7, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. SFRider

    I like Nancy Pelosi.

    April 7, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. NSR

    Maybe he can get a cell right next to hers...where DO they put treasonous, criminal, self-serving enemies of the State these days, anyway?

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Marihnat

    Please, this lady is an easy target. No one has to incite violence against her she does it to herself everytime she opens her mouth. The best thing that people can do is vote this arrogent, evil women out of office. That is what needs to be done. Don't waste your time or your breath even calling her as she is too STUPID to know that what she is doing is wrong. VOTE OUT THE STUPID ==STARTING WITH HER, REED AND THE BOZO IN THE WHITE HOUSE

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. Dem TIl death

    Usually a person has to be up to some good to be hated. All of a sudden I have even more respect for her. She is a credit to her country. I think these so called conservatives are very fearful and ignorant. And unfortunaely they tend to be 'gun owners. Thank you FBI!

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. b

    I think that the only thing more terrifying than Al Qaeda is that Nancy Pelosi is 3rd in line to the Presidency. That being said when you threaten to harm any of our duly elected officials you need to be removed from society for a very long time.

    April 7, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Jacksonhole59

    I can't believe more people haven't been arrested. Just go and have a casual beer in any VFW, Moose Lodge, Elks, American Legion et al, and you're bound to find some very disgruntled folks.

    April 7, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. Jim

    We seem to be such a divided and downtrodden nation. Is the high unemployment making people crazy? Did crazy conservatives make similar threats against Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, or Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's (or John F. Kennedy)?

    Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid have done a great service by leading the efforts to implement sweeping healthcare reform. God bless our nation and its elected leaders, and keep them safe from harm!

    April 7, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Nickiejay

    I hope they get that Vanderbough guy too....why is he still sitting around collecting a SS check?

    April 7, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. paul

    we the people of this once proud country need only to look to our past forefathers whom gave their all that we would have the liberties that we are losing today to socialism and communism.thomas jefferson would roll in his grave to see what this administration is doing now.goverment healthcare, goverment motors,goverment banks,
    chew on that comrades...

    April 7, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Bob

    During both of the Bush's Presidencies there were death threats and the FBI investigated and arrested those folks. It is not a Republican or Democratic thing, it is the law. If you threaten the President, or any member of Congress, Governors, etc. you are committing a crime. If I threaten to kill my neighbor I can be arrested and charged too.
    Wether you like an elected offical or hate them, they have been legally elected, or have a short term appointment, Respect the position, even if you do not respect the person. I often do not agree with my elected officals, and will express my disappointment via emails, or the phone, but I always respect their position and their decision on issues. They were elected to represent more than me.

    April 7, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. you're all buttmonkeys

    Wouldn't be surprised to see this is all made up by the liberals to give them the "I'm a victim" feel.
    However, you gotta think that if people are SO upset at this healthcare "reform" that the democrats should've taken notice. THEY ARE DOOMED THIS NOVEMBER.
    I'm not advocating the violence but definitely making it so that these idiots (ALL OF CONGRESS) takes notice.

    April 7, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Tony

    10 years in prison sounds good. Get tough on crime.

    April 7, 2010 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Independent

    The far right is turning into the American taliban. Pretty clear from the center point of view.

    April 7, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. Bob O

    Since when is stating an opinion or a viewpoint hate? I think many have lowered the threshold for the use of this word. Our legislative system is based on argument. Hate is when you strap a explosive vest on and set yourself off in a market place.

    April 7, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. The one

    She herself threatens the continuation of this country with her idiotic actions, lack of economic understanding and welfare programs.

    April 7, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  21. david L

    Two of the most indebited States are Calif. and Ill.what does

    that tell you about Pelosi and Obama. I don't condone

    violence, but they have to go.

    April 7, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  22. David

    I don't know why she should worry she could just take her staff and thier famlies on another taxpayer funded retreat at the cool cost of 1+million hard earned taxpayer dollars, then no one from her district could complain to her about supporting those who are consistnatley looking for another government handout.

    April 7, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. opinion2

    Funny... The FBI never arrests lawyers that threaten civilians when they deliberately muck civil process for profits. I guess the FBI works for lawyers and not citizens. That's my opinion.

    April 7, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  24. Doraine Gordon

    If these nut cases are so unhappy with the way our country is being run why do they stay here? Why don't they just get on a slow boat to China? No other country will put up with their nonsense. Some of the other countries would simply stand them up and kill them. I think they are all cowards myself. They think they are being so careful to block their phone numbers but it didn't do any good. The law can and will find you. So any of you other idiots out there thinking about threatning anyone had better think again. You should know that you can't do anything illegal and get away with it. Didn't your Mama teach you anything?

    April 7, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. henriettap

    The GOP have stirred the hornets nest .They along with all the rest who are inciting hatred.They are truly getting people with problems to come out from under their rocks.They are showing me that they can divide a country,this is truly about race,noone has had to listen to the crack pots spew the hatred like it is being spoken today against one man not even G Bush.

    April 7, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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