A Michigan man faces up five years behind bars after he admitted last week to threatening Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J) in a series of racist, profanity-laden voicemails to the lawmaker’s office.
Rick Lynn Simmons, 52, of Kentwood, Mich., pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of interstate communication with threat to injure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan announced in a press release. Simmons, who’s set to be sentenced on June 5, also faces three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
He was indicted on the charges Jan. 9.
At his plea hearing, Simmons admitted he’d placed the call from his home on Oct. 26, 2018 to Booker’s office in Camden, N.J. and left a vulgar voicemail threatening to a put a gun to the senator’s face. He also used several racial slurs, authorities said.
“Come on, you bring it on buddy,” the message said in part. “Just me and my wife and we got guns a blazin’. You wanna come in here? … I got a nine millimeter I’ll put in your f—–’ face, you m———–. You wanna, you wanna challenge me?”
U.S. Attorney for Western Michigan Andrew B. Birge denounced Simmons’ actions, saying in a statement, “No individual, whether a public official or a member of the public, deserves to field threatening messages designed to dehumanize, intimidate and terrorize.”
This isn’t the first time the African-American senator, who announced his run for president last month, has been the target of threats. Last year, a mailed pipe bomb-style device was addressed to Booker’s New Jersey office, as well as to the homes and offices of other prominent Democrats who’ve been critical of President Donald Trump. The dangerous device was intercepted at South Florida U.S. Postal Service center, N.J.com reported.
Booker suffered a similar scare in 2017 when extra security was deployed in response to death threats against the former Newark mayor’s life. The specifics of that threat are unclear.