An Arizona man was indicted in October for threatening to kill Rep. Adam B. Schiff in an expletive-laden voicemail left with the California Democrat’s Washington office, according to recently unsealed court documents.
Jan Peter Meister, a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal history, is charged with making interstate threats and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the court filing revealed.
An October search of Meister’s residence turned up a loaded .380 caliber handgun, a 9 mm handgun and an American Tactical Rifle as well as 700 rounds of ammunition.
He pleaded not guilty to both charges and is scheduled to stand trial on March 9. If convicted, he faces a five-year sentence for the threat and a 10-year sentence for the gun charge.
Prosecutors say Meister left the threatening voicemail Oct. 1 as the House impeachment began heating up.
“Yeah, go f— your mother, you son of a b— cause I’m gonna f— ing blow your brains out you f— ing piece of sh— motherf—, you’re a f—ing piece of sh—,” Meister said, according to a Justice Department filing.
“Yeah watch. I’m gonna f— your a—hole you piece of sh— son of a b—. Yeah come get me. I guarantee I’ll f— your brains out,’ the message continued.
When federal agents arrived to arrest Meister Oct. 25, he cursed at them and said, “F— Adam Schiff,” even though police had not mentioned the congressman’s name, according to the court filing.
Investigators also “noted a strong odor of alcohol emanating” from Meister, court records say.
During his interview with police, Meister apologized for making the call and said he reacted to a segment on Fox News, according to court documents.
“Meister responded that he watches Fox News and likely was upset at something he saw on the news,” an interview summary filed with the court said.
“He stated that he strongly dislikes the Democrats and feels they are to blame for the country’s political issues. Meister stated that he likely goggled [sic] the congressman’s office number to make the call.”
Meister’s attorney said his client was drunk at the time of the call and had no intention of harming Mr. Schiff.
“Mr. Meister is charged with making a drunken phone call in which he threatened a U.S. congressman. Although serious, the congressman lived in Washington, D.C, and Mr. Meister lives in a trailer in Tucson,” he said in a filing.
“Mr. Meister has no ties to Washington or the ability to travel there and there is little evidence that he could have carried out his alleged threat.”
The threat was revealed in a pretrial detention memo filed by federal prosecutors asking that Meister be held in prison ahead of his trial.
Meister’s rap sheet includes a 1989 rape conviction in Maryland, and convictions for an unknown sex offense, DUI and assault in 2000 and disorderly conduct in 2001. He is also a registered sex offender in Arizona.
President Trump has leveled fierce public barbs against Mr. Schiff, a longtime foe. The president has called the lawmaker “corrupt,” “shifty,” “criminal,” and suggested he should be arrested for treason.
Mr. Schiff’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Law enforcement authorities in recent years have begun taking threats against politicians more seriously as the country’s political divide widens.
In 2017, a gunman who hated Republicans attacked House lawmakers practicing for the annual congressional baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, was nearly killed in the attack.