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Press Release

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Threatening a Congressional Staff Member and Making 12,000 Harassing Telephone Calls to Members of Congress

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON - Ade Salim Lilly, 35, of Queens, NY, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in threatening to kill a Congressional staff member and for making repeated harassing phone calls to members of Congress, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the U.S. Capitol Police. 

            Lilly pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly to two federal charges: interstate communications with a threat to kidnap or injure and repeated telephone calls. The threat charge carries a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine; the count of repeated phone calls carries a maximum of two years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A federal judge will determine Lilly’s sentence based on the federal guidelines determined by Congress. Judge Kelly scheduled sentencing for August 28, 2024.

            “Threatening another person’s safety or life is a crime, not protected speech,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This case should send a clear message that while people are secure in their rights to express themselves, they are not allowed to threaten people and those who do will be held accountable.”

            According to court documents, beginning about February 1, 2022, and continuing until his arrest in this case in Puerto Rico on November 8, 2023, Lilly made over 12,000 telephone calls to approximately 54 offices of Members of Congress across the country, both in district offices located in various U.S. States and to offices located in Washington, D.C.

            Of the calls to congressional offices, more than 6,526 were made by Lilly to offices within the District of Columbia. Lilly placed the calls while he was in Maryland or Puerto Rico.

            Most of these phone calls were answered by congressional staff members or interns. In some of these telephone calls, Lilly became angry and use vulgar and harassing language towards the individual who answered the phone. Congressional staff repeatedly asked Lilly to refrain from calling. U.S. Capitol Police informed Lilly on multiple occasions that his phone calls were unwanted, and due to a harassing nature, were prohibited by law.

            To avoid detection and to trick congressional staff to answer his phone calls, Lilly masked his phone number. Lilly made at least one phone call during which he threatened to kill or injure the person who answered. On October 21, 2022, Lilly called into a congressional office in Washington D.C., threatening a staff member. “I will kill you, I am going to run you over, I will kill you with a bomb or grenade,” Lilly told the employee. In addition to the threatening phone calls, Lilly repeatedly called Congressional offices. For example, during two-days in February 2023, Lilly called one congressional representative more than 500 times.

            In response, Lilly was indicted, and the U.S. Capitol Police deployed agents to arrest Lilly on November 14, 2023, in Puerto Rico.

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police with valuable assistance from the United States Marshal’s Service. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander R. Schneider.



Updated May 31, 2024

National Security