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. Darrick

    Karma is a bitch. Shouldn't have trumped up the stray bullet. No sympathy for this guy.

    March 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. conniesz

    I only have one question – Why? When a threat like that is made there is usually a "reason" – so why don't we get to know why Cantor's life was threatened? Without that piece of information it could be a jealous husband or some such.

    March 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brownie

    Yeah it took CNN 1.5 hours longer to report this than Fox news. I guess this spoils the CNN game of dividing the country over statements that were apparently never made by tea party folks and blaming those nonexistent epithets on people who Oppose the CNN/Obama/Democrat socialist agenda. Criminalizing political opposition, this is CNN.

    March 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Keith

    Whats funny about all of this is that they are pitching a fit that the govt is 'trying' to fix a domestic issue, whether it is right or wrong.....yet Bush and other past presiedents paid more attention to foreign issues and they just stood back and watched.....you complain to candidates for office that domestic issues need to be fixed, yet when they go to fix it you get all upset and then get really stupid to threaten violence....ok we all hate the govt, but going as far as violence just shows how stupid you really are

    March 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Babs

    Arrested as he should be, but what about all the teabaggers and Republicans threatening the Democrats?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wm scot

    If I was the #2 republican and I had a bunch of idiots of my congressional party on a ledge egging on the radical righ wing nuts to spite and curse and the democratic law makers that had were just going to make a bill that will help thousands of uninsured folks I would want to get a friendly law enforcement officer to claim he had just arrested a man that was theatening his lif to take the negitive pressure off my party !

    March 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mrinalini Kasturi

    Why were there no arrests in threats against Democratic senators and representatives? especially Senator Bart Stupak? Republicans even went far enough to say it was all made up.
    Or only Republicans are considered important enough ?
    Clearly a double standard.
    Democrats should stand up and show some guts.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      'credible threat', that phrase is important to notice. No where in the phone messages that were made public have I heard a threat against Stupak. Bad choice of words yes, but no threats.

      March 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Colleen

    Does it really matter why? If anyone heard Leboon's reasons, no matter how contentious, would that make this behavior justifiable?

    No matter what one's politics, it is not reason to want to kill someone.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David K

    Brownie does it occur to you that CNN might have been checking the facts and verifying the information? I know Fox does not let the facts get in the way of their reporting but getting one's facts straight is aan important part of being a credible news organization– something Fox really can't claim.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AC

    Why haven't they arrested the guy who left that threatening voice mssage to Stupak threstneing his life as well and the other reps

    March 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dee

    Seriously, Darrick!? There is no excuse for threats like this against either side of the political spectrum.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Doubting Thomas

    Probably some Democratic extremist nut case...

    March 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NIck

    @Brownie –
    In law we describe your reasoning as "hasty conclusion" and "false assumption". There could be any number of reasons CNN took longer to report this. Here are a few possible explanations: CNN takes longer to edit and vet their reports than does Fox; CNN's web division is less competent than is Fox's; CNN more thoroughly fact checks information than does Fox.

    I bet if you tried you could think of a few more possible explanations, either favoring or slighting CNN.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. p41

    Why isnt the Justic Dept. arresting, and charging the racist scumbag's that spit on a government official? Or, the shouted a racial, and communist minded slur as well as threats, to other government official's? Being a republican "government official", sure has its reward.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marty Arellano

    Why haven't they arrested that loon that put out that video last week telling everyone in every state to throw bricks at Democrats' offices, which did happen? How fair is that he wasn't arrested for making "terrorist threats" against our Democrat senators and congressmen and women? He even disclosed his name, for pete's sake?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
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