U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is asking a federal judge to show compassion in sentencing a New York man who threatened to kill her.
Omar wrote in a letter Tuesday that a lengthy sentence for Patrick Carlineo Jr. would likely only “increase his anger and resentment.” She says he should instead be given a chance to “make amends and seek redemption.”
The 55-year-old Carlineo, of Addison, New York, pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Monday to calling Omar’s office March 21, telling a staffer that Omar was a terrorist and threatening to shoot her.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.
Carlineo later told the FBI that he is a patriot, hates people he perceives to be radical Muslims in the U.S. government, and loves Republican President Donald Trump, according to a criminal complaint.
Carlineo’s lawyer, Sonya Zoghlin, says Carlineo is passionate about his political beliefs and his right to express them.
“He has taken responsibility for using threatening and inappropriate language to express those beliefs in this instance,” she said in an email, adding that Carlineo never intended to harm Omar and never made any plans to do so.
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Carlineo’s plea included admitting he illegally had guns. He’d been barred from possessing them after a 1998 felony criminal mischief conviction, prosecutors said.
Omar, a Somali-American, has faced criticism from Trump and others for remarks she made in recent months about Israel, Jewish influence in Washington, and 9/11.
Omar has apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for money, has said she wasn’t criticizing Jews, and has said that criticizing the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic.
Last month, a North Dakota state senator said he was sorry for posting a long-debunked photo that purported to show Omar holding a weapon at an al-Qaida training camp. But the lawmaker, Republican Oley Larsen, added that he wouldn’t apologize to Omar.