March 29th, 2010
06:37 PM ET

Man accused of threatening to kill top Republican

A man was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor, right, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives.

[Updated at 6:37 p.m.] Read the full CNN.com story

[Updated at 12:42 p.m.] Rep. Eric Cantor's office issued a statement regarding the arrest of a man who threatened to kill the Congressman:

“Over the weekend, Congressman Cantor was notified by law enforcement that a threat was made against his life. Law enforcement officials informed Congressman Cantor that the threat was determined as credible and they were responding accordingly," Cantor's Press Secretary Brad Dayspring said in a statement. "The Congressman was later notified that an arrest was made and a suspect was in custody."

[Posted at 12:26 p.m.] A 33-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested for threatening to kill Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Norman Leboon, a resident of Philadelphia, was charged in a two-count complaint with threatening to kill Cantor and his family. Leboon made the threat in a YouTube Internet video sent to Google earlier this month, according to a Justice Department news release.

Neither Cantor nor his family were harmed as a result of Leboon's threat, the release noted.

"The Department of Justice takes threats against government officials seriously, especially threats to kill or injure others," U.S. Attorney Michael Levy said. "Whether the reason for the threat is personal or political, threats are not protected by the First Amendment and are crimes."

If convicted, Leboon would face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, according to the release.

Cantor was at the center of a dispute last week between Democrats and Republicans over what many observers argue was overly heated partisan rhetoric at the end of the health care reform debate. Democrats blamed Republicans for helping to incite angry conservatives; Republicans accused Democrats of needlessly hyping threats for political gain.

Cantor told reporters Thursday morning that a bullet had been shot through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond police, however, concluded Friday that the incident was the result of "random gunfire."

Cantor also said last week that he had received several threatening messages.

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Filed under: Congress • Justice • Politics
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Austin

    Can someone tell me how many people were arrested for threatning President Obama? The threats on his life has jumped 400%, wow everyone should wake up.
    Sarah Palin want her followers to ReLoad.... what ever happened to her? nothing.
    I really think one has to stand in the middle of wall street, stop all stock trading and make a threat in other to be arrested, anything short of that will not get you arrested. Let's see how long it will take to arrest those who made threats against Democrats.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Old enough

    Any threats to our lawmakers, as it is trying to stop our system of governing, are acts of terrorism and should be treated as such. Doesn't matter whether the lawmaker is Dem or Rep. That said some of what the Dem lawmakers have been threaten w/ that I've heard also amounts to hate crimes too. Not saying the same isn't true regarding the Reps but I haven't heard those threats. I want to see the idiots that can't seem to control their own behavior prosecuted to the full extend of the law.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Papio Boy

    The suspect is a convert to Islam and a well-known agitator on You Tube. He has also twice donated to the Obama campaign, not that that means anything, of course.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. yorkiiedad

    Apparently from most of the posts here, people seem to believe it is not wrong to threaten Republicans. It is only wrong to threaten Democrats. Why hasn't Pelosi condemned the threat against Cantor or his family? She hasn't said a word. Why hasn't she said it is equally wrong to threaten Republicans as it is to threaten Democrats? Why hasn't she indicated she's relieved that an arrest has been made in the threat against Cantor? I'll tell you why. Because he's a Republican. No if Cantor were a Democrat, she'd be frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog.

    March 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeremy

    Somebody yells in opposition to the policies of a democrat, and uses swear words in the process, it's violence and/or a death threat. somebody actually threatens the life of a republican and his family than its open season to slandor the republican? You libs are rediculous. Your hypocracy knows no bounds. Both parties are home to a marvelous collection of idiots. Too bad so many have actually made it to possitions of power over the past few decades. VOTE LIBERTARIAN!!! RON PAUL 2012!! :D

    March 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ranchbobby

    You Gop people are a bunch of loonies .......go listen to some more of that lying BIG MOUTH RUSH........( he was screaming "go arrest the drug addicts" that was him.... loser)...don't forget it was "your" man BUSH ( and I mean Both of those losers Sr and Jr) who brought our world to where it is now.......in the trash can, with no fix in site..........And Obama isn't any better he is a liar also and is truly on the rich people side..........If the Tea party people are so right .....Why are they standing up for the rich????? Why are they standing up for corruption???? Why are they standing up for the destruction of our planet.......why are they listening to a bunch of liars.....the politicians should take heed to the anger that THEY have caused in society..........The Politicians and the rich have brought this country to the brink of the next civil war..........they should ALL be ashamed of themselves

    March 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeremy

    Note the post by J. Crobuzon @ 1:45 ET he asks: "What DOES Cantor have to do to get shot?"
    You libs' hands are sure clean in this crap aren't they? Very mature. And if Palin is guilty for using hunting metaphors than I guess we will also have to strike the words "battleground state" from the politcal lexicon. -this sh– is rewritting the definition of imaturity and stupidity.

    March 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jen06

    Maybe CNN spent the hour and half trying to determine how to spin this since the guy was a gay muslim that had made two contributions to Obama. Doesn't fit the left view that the Tea Party is violent.

    March 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jen06

    Norman Leboon, Sr, the man arrested for making a death threat video against House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Cantor's family is listed by the Federal Elections Commission as having made two donations to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama in 2008.

    According to the FEC, the donations were made on successive days in June 2008, on the 20th for $255 and on the 21st for $250. There are no other federal election campaign contributions listed for Leboon.

    Just a week before Leboon made his contributions, Obama spoke in Leboon's hometown of Philadelphia on June 13, where he urged his supporters to "bring a gun" to the political battles against their opponents

    March 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    This guy has 2,000 other videos threatening everything from Obama & Pelosi, to the pig in the movie 'Babe.' I don't think this youtube threatener is representative of the threats against politicians, whether Democrats or Republicans. The bullet fired in Richmond was random per all reports–it landed just inside the window in a sharp downward trajectory, and was fired in the air. The office was not really Cantor's office–he and others apparently used it at times in the past, but not at 1 am, when the bullet was fired in the air some distance away.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Colleen

    @Wordclock

    That Leboon threatened a government official speaks more about Leboon than it does about the government official, and the fact that you seem to condone Leboon's actions speaks more about you than it does about the government official as well. Watch your step, brother! You are close to crossing a line that civilized society demands we don't cross.

    March 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D.A.

    The FBI follows up on "credible" threats. Sure, all politicians receive threats... so do media people. Glenn Beck, much hated among liberals, receives threats to his life all the time. Only in a handful of cases, however, has the FBI contacted Glenn about threats... and its because they believed the threats were credible and brought them to HIS attention. Cantor's case is the same... this threat was credible, whereas the vast majority of threats against politicians are not. It is rather sad, though... the Democrats have a majority in the house and the senate, and they have the presidency, and they have the power to push bills into law against the will of the American people... yet still, some loons think that death threats against a powerless minority will somehow improve the world...

    March 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gina

    i do think its interesting that the reason for the threat was left out. people are now finding out just how corrupt the government is.

    March 31, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
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