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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jury Convicts Rochester Woman of Threatening to Kill the President and Lying to the United States Secret Service


ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today Christine Wright-Darrisaw, 38, of Rochester, N.Y., was convicted of making a direct threat to kill the President of the United States, and for lying to United States Secret Service Agents investigating the case, following a jury trial before  U. S. District Court Judge Frank P Geraci. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig R. Gestring and Grace M. Carducci, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant threatened to kill President Barack Obama during a telephone call to the White House on February 24, 2012. The Government called the White House Operator who took the call as a witness in the one-day trial. The operator graphically described the “brutality” and the “violence” of the defendant’s words during her testimony. The Operator stated that she has answered thousands of calls while serving as an operator with the White House Comments Line, but that this call still stands out in her memory, almost two years later.

Secret Service Agents from Washington and Rochester were also called to testify by the Government about their investigation and how they were able to identify the defendant as a suspect. Agents in Rochester linked Wright-Darrisaw to the cellular telephone used to make the threat to kill the President, and conducted an interview with her. During that interview, the defendant made several false statements to the Secret Service which were material to and impacted their investigation.

The guilty verdict is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Tracy Gast.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 14, 2014 before Judge Geraci.
Updated December 2, 2014