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. maven

    They will probably find out that the guy is a Tea Party wing nut who thinks Cantor is too liberal

    March 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. FredHere

    There are a lot of idiots out there....many in Congress. What people need to do is not shoot off their guns, or their mouths. They should VOTE. You don't like what your politicians are doing.....VOTE THEM OUT! You should know that if you throw a brick through a window that some over-priced contractor is just going to reap the reward for the work because the govt doesn't know how to do things within a budget. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

    March 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bullcrap

    Eric Cantor is a wuss. There's a reason why people are threatening him and it's not because he's jewish.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bonnie

    So how come when the democrats shout 'foul' when they are threatened Cantor calls it playing politics? republicans are the MOST HYPOCRITICAL beings to ever exist. No excuse for violent threats against anyone – but why the double standard Cantor?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mj

    reply to #3
    BUT they did report it. More than fox news can say about things they oppose. fox is not news driven it's ratings and agenda driven. they remind me of a high school girl who lost the most popular contest. all she can do is dog the other girl that won.
    couldn't everything the government spends money on be considered socialism, there are a lot of things I don't benefit from government spending but I accept them for the good of the country. ex. I don't have kids but I don't wine about my tax money sending your kids to public school.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. REdleg

    Will Cantor decline to testify or press charges since he believes that he should just roll over and take it? Isn't this more of the nothing that threats against the children of Democrats are?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. VERNIS ROBERTSON

    The man they arrested was John Boehner .

    March 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian Paul

    They democrats are destroying this country and record speed. This health care bill is so bad for this country! Business owners and workers alike. If you receive a paycheck from someone hang on to that job with all your might, because the people that pay you are being destroyed by this administration. When we are broke, who's wallet are you going to go for next?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brownie

    For those of you asking me and the audience why they aren't arresting others for threats against Democrats, the most likely reason is that they never happened. They were made up to provide covering fire to ram a health care bill through congress when it was supported by 46% of the people.

    The calls we heard played on CNN were not threats, they were angry people wishing ill on people, as petty and childish as doing that is, it's not a crime.

    Yet when the situation is reversed and a kook threatens to kill a Republican you are all full of doubt and suspicion. In the case o the loyal left in America, dissent is a crime punishable by fake charges.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    Even Eric Cantor does not deserve this type of threat and treatment. There is no place for it in our society. However, the obstructionist tactics of the Republicans and some Democrats are ruining our country. Wars, terrorism threat, ruined economy, corporate welfare, military increases, failure to invest in our people and economy all contribute to a hateful state of affairs. I stood outside the Capitol and listened to and watched Tea Party People rant, rave, threaten, push and accuse all those that did not agree with them regarding health care reform.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ray

    again, i am the first to post that this cantor is a racist, liar. i said that he was lying when he said his office shot at and it turn out to be a lie. this cantor lies . morning, moom, and night and he is lying again. there is no arrest, again, there is no arrest. what i want to hear , is the tape, yes the tape he says he has, get the fbi involved, cantor is a racists, and a liar.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mrsb

    Laverne – The FBI is investigating the gas line that was cut at Rep. Perriello's brother's house. So far they do not have any suspects which is why an arrest has not been made. This idiot put his threat against Cantor on youtube for all the world to see so he was a bit easier to catch.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bobby Nakka

    Do any of you guys have any common sense? Being an enabler is not reason for arrests. Most of you questioning how the guy posting video of asking everyone to throw a brick at democrats house wasn't breaking any laws. As for the reverse psychology that republicans just made this up, has it ever occured maybe democrats staged the same thing too????

    Remember Democrats or Republicans all politicians are con artists and will do anything to make stuff up. Saying Republican congressmen are more capable of these things more than their Democratic counterparts is really lack of common sense.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael in Boston

    I think it's fair to say there are crazies on both Left and Right, however I still think it's the Right's consistent use of "spirited language" that is the source that is fueling the crazies on both sides. Its my hope that we can return to a place of civil disagreement.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amy

    Why have there been no arrests for the multitude of threats and violence against Democrats? Seems like there is a double standard going on. I wish CNN would report that– as we know FOX never will as they are owned and controlled by the GOP.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
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