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Syracuse man sentenced for threatening death against a New York Congressman and his family

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. – United States Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Patrick D. Angelo, 28, of Syracuse, NY, who was convicted of interstate communication of a threat, was sentenced to time served (seven months in prison) and three years’ supervised release by the Honorable Mae A. D’Agostino, United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York. The defendant was also ordered to have no direct contact with Congressman John Katko.

The conviction is the result of a threat defendant made to New York Congressman John Katko on October 19, 2017. On that date, defendant called the Washington D.C. office of Congressman Katko and left a threatening voice mail that included a death threat to the Congressman and his family. Congressman Katko’s office reported the voicemail to the United States Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, which began an investigation in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The telephone number that the call originated from traced back to the defendant.

As a result of the threat, security surrounding Congressman Katko was increased. Since Congressman Katko formerly served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of New York, that Office was recused, and the case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig R. Gestring and Sean C. Eldridge of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York, in Rochester, handled the case.

In sentencing the defendant, Judge D’Agostino characterized the defendant’s conduct as “beyond reprehensible” and indicated that the threat made against the Congressman represented “an assault on government.”

“By threatening to harm Congressman Katko and his family, defendant crossed the line,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “While the First Amendment protects a broad range of speech and expression, it is not without limits. Hopefully, this prosecution will clearly convey the message that true threats against those in public office are not protected speech and will not be tolerated.”

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Vadim Thomas, Special Agent-in-Charge, Albany Office; the New York State Police, under the Major Philip T. Rougeux; and the United States Capitol Police, under the direction of Matthew R. Verderosa.