United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
PALM SPRINGS RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MAKING DEATH THREAT AGAINST WASHINGTON CONGRESSMAN JIM McDERMOTT
Defendant Left Expletive Laden, Threatening Voice Mail Messages Following Tax Cut Debate
CHARLES TURNER HABERMANN, 32, of Palm Springs, California, pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court in Seattle to threatening a federal official. HABERMANN was arrested in January and was indicted for two expletive laden, threatening phone calls he made to the Seattle office of Congressman Jim McDermott on December 9, 2010. Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend no more than the low end of the sentencing guidelines range when HABERMANN is sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on August 8, 2011. Judge Robart is free to sentence HABERMANN to any prison time up to the maximum ten years allowed by statute.
According to the facts in the plea agreement, in the first call recorded on the office answering system, HABERMANN threatens to kill Congressman McDermott, his friends and family. In the second call HABERMANN says he will hire someone to put Congressman McDermott “in the trash.” HABERMANN was interviewed by the FBI on December 10, 2010, regarding the calls to Congressman McDermott, and another threatening call made to another member of Congress. In the voice mail messages HABERMANN stated he had seen Congressman McDermott on television. In the messages he disparages and threatens Congressman McDermott and other Democrats for their views on tax cuts and unemployment insurance. On the voice mail messages HABERMANN threatens to kill Congressman McDermott in an effort to impede, intimidate and interfere with his vote on the tax cut proposal in December 2010.
HABERMANN was investigated in March 2010, for similar conduct involving threats to a California Assembly Person. In that instance, HABERMANN went to the Assembly Person’s office to discuss the health care bill and was escorted out. Following the office meeting, HABERMANN left two threatening voice mail messages. HABERMANN was interviewed by the California Highway Patrol, and was issued a warning about his threatening conduct.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, HABERMANN is barred from any contact with Congressman McDermott and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, or members of their staffs.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion.