Kentwood Man Pleads Guilty To Interstate Threat To U.S. Senator
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Rick Lynn Simmons, 52, of Kentwood, Michigan pleaded guilty before a U.S. Magistrate Judge to one count of making an interstate telephone call to the Camden, New Jersey office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker and leaving a voicemail message with a threat to injure Senator Booker, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c). Simmons faces a maximum of 5 years’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised released, and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff.
Simmons admitted at the plea hearing that he placed a call in the evening of October 26, 2018 from his Kent County, Michigan home to Senator Booker’s office and left a vulgarity-filled voicemail message that threatened to "put a nine millimeter" into the Senator’s face.
"No individual, whether a public official or a member of the public, deserves to field threatening messages designed to dehumanize, intimidate and terrorize," U.S. Attorney Birge said.
"The FBI works closely with the U.S. Capitol Police to investigate threats to harm or kill public officials wherever those threats originate," said FBI Detroit Field Office Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater. "In this case, the targeted individual was a Senator, but we remain committed to safeguarding the rights of all individuals."
The case was jointly investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police, Kentwood Police Department, and the FBI - Grand Rapids Violent Crime Task Force – which includes the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Michigan Department of Corrections, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay M. West is prosecuting the case.