Long Island Man Sentenced to 18 Months’ Imprisonment for Threatening to Assault and Murder Two United States Senators
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Ronald DeRisi was sentenced by United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco to 18 months’ imprisonment for threatening to assault and kill two sitting United States Senators in retaliation for their support of the nomination and confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. As part of his sentence, DeRisi was ordered to forfeit two firearms to the United States.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Acting Chief Steven Sund, United States Capitol Police, announced the sentence.
“Our political process allows for vigorous debate, but not destruction. Threatening to harm or kill elected officials because one disagrees with their public positions goes far beyond the scope of the First Amendment and will not be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “We will not allow individuals to influence political decision-making through criminal threats.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Suffolk County Police Department for their assistance in the case.
“I also want to thank our USCP investigators, and all of our partners in successfully investigating and prosecuting this case,” said Acting Capitol Police Chief Sund.
In September and October of 2018, DeRisi telephoned and left approximately 12 anonymous, threatening voice-messages at the offices of two United States Senators, both of whom were publicly supporting the nomination and confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. DeRisi’s threats, which were made both before and after Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, included threatening to shoot one of the Senators in the head with a 9mm firearm. When DeRisi was arrested on October 19, 2018, members of law enforcement recovered live 9mm ammunition during the execution of a search warrant at his residence.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Justina L. Geraci is in charge of the prosecution.
Smithtown, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-090 (JFB)
United States Attorney’s Office