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Press Release

Broome County Man Sentenced for Making Interstate Threats to Member of Congress

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Joseph F. Morelli, age 51, of Endicott, New York was sentenced today to serve three months in prison for making threatening phone calls from his home to the voicemail in the office of a member of Congress in Washington, D.C.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Alfred Watson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), made the announcement. Morelli was ordered to surrender to prison on October 2, 2023. Chief U.S. District Judge Brenda K. Sannes also ordered Morelli to serve a three-year term of supervised release after completing his sentence of incarceration. The Court directed the parties to further brief the issue of restitution sought by the victim for a decision at a later date.

As part of his guilty plea, Morelli admitted to that on March 3, 2022, he placed a telephone call to the Washington, D.C. office of a member of the U.S. House Representatives that said in part, ““I'm gonna have to take your life into my own hands… I'm gonna hurt you. Physically, I’m gonna harm you.”

A second voicemail message on March 3, 2022, said in part, “I'm gonna have to show you, to your face, right up front, what violence truly is, and I don't think you're gonna like it.… I can pay someone 500 bucks to take a baseball bat and crack your skull. …You are going to get f**king physically hurt.”

A third voicemail message on March 3, 2022, included, “you're gonna cause people to get hurt, so I'm gonna have to hurt you physically. … I'm gonna make sure that, even if they lock me up, someone's gonna get you ‘cause I'll pay them to.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Capitol Police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick was the prosecutor.

Updated August 24, 2023

Violent Crime