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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 20, 2019

Kentwood Man Sentenced For Interstate Threat To Injure U.S. Senator

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Rick Lynn Simmons, 52, of Kentwood, Michigan was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff for 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. Simmons will serve 15 months of confinement, 2 years of supervised release, and pay a $2,000 fine. Judge Neff commented that this threat does not necessarily reflect an isolated incident based on Simmons’ internet searches of contact information of other public officials following this incident.

          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 voicemail message from that call. Simmons further admitted at the plea hearing to leaving a vulgarity-filled message in that call during which he threatened to put a 9 millimeter gun into the face of Senator Booker and put "guns a blazin."

          "This conviction and sentence should serve as a warning to others who, like Simmons, stoop to such threats of violence," U.S. Attorney Birge said.

          "The FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens to do harm to others," said FBI Detroit Field Office Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater. "We hope this sentence sends a strong message that the FBI, working in conjunction with our federal, state, and local partners, will investigate these threats thoroughly so we can keep our citizens safe."

          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 prosecuted the case.

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Updated July 1, 2019