Florida man Michael Shapiro, 72, is accused of making multiple threats to harm Rep. Eric Swalwell and his children in a series of recent voicemail messages. According to court documents obtained by sources like NBC, on December 19, Shapiro allegedly called the congressman's office in Washington, D.C., from his Greenacres home in the evening and left five threatening voicemail messages.
Shapiro made his first court appearance on Wednesday, January 3, after being arrested that morning. According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Click Orlando, the senior citizen is accused of trying to intimidate Eric Swalwell.
Although not named in court filings, according to sources like The Independent, Swalwell admitted that he and his family were the targets of threats. According to the same source, actor Swalwell, speaking about the voicemail messages, stated on Wednesday evening:
“There is no place in America for threats of political violence. We must always resolve our differences at the ballot box. While I will continue to protect my family and my employees, these ongoing threats will never prevent me from representing my constituents.”
Eric Swalwell and his family are threatened by a Florida man via voice mail
A Florida man was arrested Wednesday and charged with making death threats against Swalwell, a congressman, and his children. Regarding the five voicemail messages he left, Shapiro made a public appearance in court on Wednesday, according to the Justice Department. His next appearance is scheduled for January 24 after being released on bail.
According to court documents, in one letter to the legislator's office, it was addressed to Eric Swalwell:
“I'm going to hunt you down and kill you,” Shapiro said.
The same documents also stated that Shapiro made another threat to Eric Swalwell:
“I will kill your children.”
The court document stipulating Shapiro's appearance in the Southern District of Florida states that he was “found to be indigent.” His legal representative was appointed to be the Public Defender's Office.
Furthermore, in a series of such messages, Shapiro also referred to Eric Swalwell as a “Chinese spy,” referring to allegations that the congressman was connected to a potential Chinese intelligence agent.
This was in reference to the fact that the House Ethics Committee ended its 2021 investigation into Swalwell last year over allegations that he had ties to Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese spy.
The accusation was prompted by a report published by Axios, which claimed that Fang helped hire an intern in Swalwell's office and participated in fundraising efforts for his 2014 re-election campaign.
Swalwell said in a letter to X:
“No threat will stop me from representing my constituents.”
He added that he “will not leave.”
The 72-year-old has been accused of threatening people before. Shapiro allegedly pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 to sending threatening messages to a different victim, according to prosecutors. In the same context, the Ministry of Justice also said:
“The complaint further alleges that Shapiro pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 to making threatening communications to another victim.”
However, in response to an increase in threats against members of Congress in recent years, House Democrats last month created a task force on lawmaker security.
Meanwhile, a request for comment was not immediately responded Wednesday night by an attorney associated with Shapiro.