A federal judge who listened to an expletive-filled voicemail rant in which a Chicago Heights man allegedly threatened President Joe Biden’s inauguration declared Thursday that even empty threats cause harm, ruling the man should be held in custody.
“Threats hurt people,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes said. “They terrorize people. They make people afraid.”
The judge also said it’d be “difficult to find a more explicit threat” than the one Louis Capriotti, 45, allegedly left in a voicemail for a member of Congress from New Jersey. The call was made Dec. 29, roughly one week before the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunne played an excerpt of the voicemail in open court during Capriotti’s detention hearing Thursday. In it, a man alleged to be Capriotti said that, if “motherf—ing p—y a– Republicans and these Democrat f—ing terrorists think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that f—ing White House on Jan. 20th, they’re sadly f—ing mistaken.”
“We will surround the motherf—ing White House and we will kill any motherf—ing Democrat that steps on the motherf—ing lawn,” Capriotti allegedly said.
He also allegedly said, “Democrats are f—ing terrorists. They’re babykillers, gun-grabbers, God-hating, cop-hating, open borders, fake climate change c—sucking cheaters.”
Capriotti was arrested near his home Jan. 12. He was charged with transmitting a threat and has been held in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center. His arrest came days after the Capitol breach and as the FBI warned of armed protests across the country. Those protests didn’t materialize, and Biden was sworn in without incident Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States.
Dunne said no guns or other weapons were found in Capriotti’s home when he was arrested.
Louis CapriottiCook County Sheriff
An 11-page criminal complaint filed against Capriotti references four members of Congress who allegedly received his voicemails, but they were not named. In the voicemails, the feds allege Capriotti “often screamed while leaving the messages” and spoke of raising “motherf—ing hell.”
He also repeatedly claimed to be a Marine, according to prosecutors. A Marine Corps spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times no record could be found of Capriotti serving. Jack Corfman, Capriotti’s defense attorney, also told the judge that Capriotti “was not a Marine” and “has never served in the military.”
During Thursday’s hearing, Dunne said Capriotti left “dozens of messages” on members of Congress’ voicemails over the last four years, but they became “more disturbing” in the last six to seven weeks, “particularly in the late month of November and then in early December.”
The prosecutor also said Capriotti has a history of “calling individuals, making them uncomfortable.” And Fuentes noted that a 2015 harassment by telephone charge that led to two years of probation for Capriotti included alleged comments by Capriotti that he would “rip (the victim’s) chest open,” “tear the person’s heart out” and would be “coming with guns blazing.”
Corfman asked Fuentes to release Capriotti on home detention and electronic monitoring, letting Capriotti’s mother serve as third-party custodian and putting restrictions on Capriotti’s phone use.
The defense attorney also said Capriotti’s threat was directed toward Biden’s inauguration, which he said “went smoothly” and “is now in the past.”
But Fuentes ruled that making such an explicit threat “is itself a harm to the community … even if that person doesn’t intend to carry it out.”
Source by chicago.suntimes.com