California Man Sentenced For Threats Made Against Local United States Congressman
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Eugene Huelsman, 59, of Thousand Oaks, California, was sentenced to six months home confinement on one count of transmission of a threat in interstate commerce, announced Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“The free exercise of speech is central to our democracy,” stated U.S. Attorney Coody. "However, the communication of threats of physical violence, in this case by an individual who had previously made and been investigated for similar threats of violence, is clearly unlawful. With our law enforcement partners, we are committed to protecting public safety for all citizens. Today’s sentence acknowledges the defendant’s repeated threats of violence and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would threaten violence against others rather than engage in lawful debate.”
At the hearing, Huelsman was sentenced for telephonic threats he made, on January 9, 2021, when he called United States Congressman Matthew Gaetz’s congressional district office in Pensacola, Florida. When no one answered the call, Huelsman left a profanity laced voicemail threatening to kill Congressman Gaetz. This included threatening to “put a bullet in” Congressman Gaetz and members of his family. Huelsman also threatened that he was “coming for” the Congressman, and that he hoped the Congressman would “die in a shallow grave.”
The United States Capitol Police were contacted when the threat was made, which triggered security protocols related to the victim. The investigation revealed this was not the first time Huelsman made threats involving political figures. Huelsman had previously been investigated by the United States Secret Service for threatening a member of a former President’s family on social media.
"Words matter," said Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, "and this sentencing should serve as a warning. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but when you harass, intimidate, and threaten violence against others, it's a federal crime that will not be tolerated. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will work to hold you accountable."
Huelsman’s home confinement will be followed by five years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the United States Capitol Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.