New York man pleads guilty to making threatening phone calls to GOP Rep. Greene
"[Y]ou're gonna cause people to get hurt, so I'm gonna have to hurt you physically... I'm gonna make sure that, even if they lock me up, someone's gonna get you 'cause I'll pay them to."
A New York man pleaded guilty this week to making threatening phone calls to the office of Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in March of 2022.
Joseph F. Morelli, a resident of Endicott, N.Y., admitted to leaving a voicemail at the lawmaker's Washington, D.C., office in which he said, "I'm gonna have to take your life into my own hands… I'm gonna hurt you. Physically, I'm gonna harm you," the Department of Justice announced.
That same day, he left a second voicemail, saying "I'm gonna have to show you, to your face, right up front, what violence truly is, and I don't think you're gonna like it... I can pay someone 500 bucks to take a baseball bat and crack your skull... You are going to get f**king physically hurt."
In a third recorded message, he said "you're gonna cause people to get hurt, so I'm gonna have to hurt you physically... I'm gonna make sure that, even if they lock me up, someone's gonna get you 'cause I'll pay them to."
Morelli made the calls from his New York home. His sentencing will take place June 1 of this year at which a judge may impose a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, up to 3 years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Morelli was represented by Gabrielle DiBella, a federal public defender, who said in a letter filed with the court last month that he had spent the past 10 months being treated for mental illness, which she cited as the "root cause of his criminal activity," according to the New York Times.
In 2022, Capitol Police said there were more than 7,500 recorded threats to members of Congress, which was down from the two previous years, according to The Hill.