Illinois man accused of threatening inauguration violence

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago man accused of threatening to take the lives of United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden and other Democrats at the upcoming inauguration in Washington, DC, has been arrested, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The US Attorney’s Office in Chicago said in a news release that Louis Capriotti of Chicago Heights faces a federal charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Capriotti’s early morning arrest, US Magistrate Judge Gabriel A Fuentes ordered him to remain in custody until a detention hearing tomorrow.

Capriotti, 45, is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail for a member of the US House of Representatives on December 29. Prosecutors said the caller said if people “think that Joe Biden is going to walk into that White House on January 20, they’re sadly mistaken”.

He continued, “We will surround the White House and we will kill any Democrat that steps on the lawn,” according to the release.

Capriotti did not enter a plea and did not make any statements about the allegations. He confirmed to the judge he was on the call — because of COVID-19 many hearings are held remotely — and after the judge called a brief recess he could be heard on the line asking if his attorney had called his mother.

Photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, in Chicago, US shows Louis Capriotti. PHOTO: AP

According to the criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent who investigated the case, Capriotti has repeatedly made profane and threatening phone calls to members of Congress since 2017, and after an investigation revealed the calls came from his phone he admitted to the FBI that he had made other calls, saying that he was “just joking with” members of Congress.

According to the complaint, Capriotti left profane and threatening calls to three members of Congress in November and December last year.

In each of the calls, the man who would not give his name said he was in the Marine Corps and had killed terrorists before. And after he accused one of member of Congress of being a terrorist, he said he “will continue to kill them (terrorists) because that’s what I was trained to do”.