- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A central Kentucky man was charged Tuesday with threatening U.S. Rep. Andy Barr and police said he also spoke of wanting to kill the Republican’s predecessor, former Congressman Ben Chandler.

Russell Little, 40, of Richmond, Kentucky, is scheduled to make an initial appearance on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Lexington.

FBI Agent Michael Van Aelstyn wrote in an affidavit released Tuesday afternoon that Little repeatedly called Barr’s Lexington office over a five-month span and made “both explicit and direct” threats. Some of the threats were made directly to Barr, others to Chandler, who held the seat from 2004 through 2013.

Van Aelstyn said Little appeared upset about not having access to his medical records, but didn’t give the specifics of Little’s grievance in the affidavit.

In a May 5 message left for Chandler at Barr’s office, Little said: “I’ll bust your brains out. You tell Ben Chandler if I run across him I’ll bust him in the head with a bullet,” Van Aelstyn wrote. “And I mean that too. I’ll kill you ole feller. You take that however you want.”

Chandler, who is now executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council in Lexington, said he received “so many threats of one sort or another” during his years in office that he’s either forgotten about them or his staff didn’t notify him of them. The threats reached their peak “at the height of the tea party vitriol” in January 2011, but no one ever followed through with an attempt to hurt him, he said.

“That particular name does not ring a bell,” Chandler said of Little.

FBI agents tracked down Little in June and spoke with him about the calls. Little said he made the phone calls and apologized to the agents before saying he would stop contacting Barr. The agents warned Little that any more threats could lead to his arrest.

Van Aelstyn said Little left voicemail messages at Barr’s office on July 3, July 12, July 15 and July 16. Van Aelstyn described Little as “highly agitated” toward Barr and said he continued to make “explicit and direct” obscenity-laced threats against the congressman. In his July 12 message, Little referred to the FBI’s visit to his home, Van Aelstyn said.

“Each of the voicemails contained similar communication regarding Little wanting access to his medical records,” said Van Aelstyn, who also assisted in the investigation into the shooting of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011.

Van Aelstyn said Little left seven voice mails at Barr’s office in the beginning of August, including one on Aug. 1 and five on Aug. 3. In the Aug. 1 voicemail, Van Aelstyn said, Little made direct threats against Chandler and laced his comments with multiple obscenities.

“You’ve already crossed too many lines ole feller; you are a … faggot. Now who’s got my … money and who’s got my … medical records! You think you are … bad? You bring it on, big boy,” Little said.

Kentucky State Police tracked Little down on Aug. 4 after another complaint from Barr’s office in which he used “a variety of curse words” to express his anger at Barr and Chandler, Van Aelstyn said.

Little led troopers on a 40-mile chase through central Kentucky before police managed to immobilize his car, Van Aelstye said. Troopers seized a loaded .38- caliber pistol from the front passenger seat of his car.

Little’s attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Barr’s spokeswoman, Catherine Gatewood, declined to comment on the arrest and referred calls to the U.S. Capitol Police, which did not immediately return a message seeking comment.


Follow Associated Press Writer Brett Barrouquere on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BBarrouquereAP

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