News and Press Releases

Repeatedly Called U.S. Senator Threatening Her with Violence

October 22, 2010

CHARLES ALAN WILSON, 64, of Selah, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for threatening a federal official. WILSON was arrested in April 2010 by the FBI and local law enforcement at his home in Selah, near Yakima, Washington. WILSON became the subject of a federal investigation after a series of threatening phone calls to the office of Washington's U.S. Senator Patty Murray. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour told him, “We need to rely on our elected officials to be able to do their jobs without fear.”

According to the plea agreement signed in June 2010, WILSON admits that between March 22 and April 4, 2010, he called Senator Patty Murray's office on multiple occasions leaving expletive-laden threatening messages. WILSON stated that Senator Murray "had a target on her back." WILSON stated, "I want to (expletive) kill you." WILSON discussed assisting others in an attempt to kill the senator. WILSON's threats were in response to the passage of the Health Care Reform Act.

WILSON made the calls from a telephone line with a 'blocked' phone number. However, federally subpoenaed telephone records revealed the calls came from his home phone line. FBI agents were able to further confirm WILSON was the caller. WILSON told undercover FBI agents that he regularly carries a firearm with a concealed weapons permit. He also stated that he was extremely angry about the passage of the health care reform legislation.

Prosecutors asked that WILSON serve a year and a day in prison, to send a deterrence message to others who might be tempted to engage in similar conduct. “Among the many virtues of our democratic system is the fact that American citizens are provided with numerous vehicles to appropriately express their political views – including opposition to certain laws or the votes cast by elected officials. Mr. Wilson was obviously entitled to his views in opposition to the Healthcare Reform Act. How he chose to express those views was unlawful and, in fact, threatened to undermine the very democratic system he claimed to be ‘protecting,’” Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

For additional information, please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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