Chicago man pleads guilty to retaliating against US senator
PHOENIX (AP) — A Chicago man pleaded guilty in Phoenix to a federal retaliation charge for leaving a threatening voice mail for a U.S. senator from Arizona during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
The plea deal made Tuesday calls for 58-year-old James Dean Blevins Jr. to serve a sentence of probation for his acknowledged threat to an official identified only as “United States Senator J.F.” Authorities have declined to provide the victim’s name, but then-Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona was the only senator with those initials.
Prosecutor Robert Brooks said Blevins made the call from Illinois to the U.S. senator’s office within Arizona.
In his plea deal, Blevins acknowledged that he left the threatening voicemail from his landline in Chicago on Sept. 17, saying, “I am tired of him interrupting our president, and I am coming down there to take him and his family out.”
Asked by U.S. Magistrate John Boyle if he agreed with those facts, Blevins answered, “Yes, yes.”
Flake had said in late September that his family received death threats after he asked a Senate committee to hear testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the then-Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.
“One man somewhere in the country called my office in Arizona and left a message saying that he was tired of me interrupting my president,” Flake said. “And for that offense of allowing Dr. Ford to be heard, for this offense, me and my family would be taken out.”
Kavanaugh was confirmed following contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearings over her claims that he had sexually assaulted her while the two were teenagers living in Maryland. Flake, who voted for the nomination, played a key role during the hearings when he requested an FBI investigation of the claims.
Blevins is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8 for his felony conviction.
This wasn’t the first case filed against someone who’s accused of threatening a senator during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process.
Ronald Derisi of Smithtown, New York, pleaded guilty in late February to a charge of retaliation by threats against two unnamed U.S. senators who supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Sentencing for Derisi is scheduled for May 2.