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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soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Buzzard

    Curious use of the phrase "trumped up" by Darrick. Law enforcement personnel declare what has happened to Congressman Cantor to be a "credible" threat AND then make an arrest. Which of the alleged "threats" against Democrat lawmakers / personages have similarly been declared to be "credible" AND when can we expect arrests of the conveyors of those threats ... whether their threat was written, verbal, audio, video, or via "spit" or "brick"? [I.e., who is doing the "trumping up"?] Just so we're clear on where I stand: Threats are wrong, should be investigated, and the conveyors should be dealt with appropriately ... regardless of the gender, age, race, ethnic origin, religious preference, or party affiliation (or lack thereof) of the individual to whom the threatener conveyed that threat. I'm not saying that Democrats haven't been (or at least felt) threatened; but, where is the investigative reporting and law enforcement confirmation of the recent allegations with which Democrats have recently flooded the media post-Health Care legislation passage? For if any of those allegations (unlike those made by Representative Cantor) are "trumped up" then I agree fully with Darrick ... "Karma IS a bitch."

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

    The guy is probably a kook, odd though that the nuts that threaten the republicans are caught and the same kooks that threaten the Democrats are " at large".

    March 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr Perry Fisher

    Thats a pity.
    That person wanted to go to prison.Going to prison will furnish him the basic necessities of life without expending effort....What a way to defeat inflation,unemployment,and lack of healthcare for a streach of time

    March 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charles

    There is a stupid group of people that don't want the poor people to have health insurance even thou they have it. That is way some of their ignorant assess go out annd threat congressmen that are trying to their jobs. I f some people would stop hating on the poor and religize that God loves us all wants better for us the world would be a better palce.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    Let's say this, the Congressman is likely getting a threat from some woman's husband/boyfriend since Republicans are notoriously involved in ual trysts usually involving the very people they condemn in public, IE gays, others wives, or similar. As for the Republicans getting action against a threat verses Democrats getting similar threats over the health care reform, it's simply a matter that the people calling these in are venting, not actually taking action. Whereas, this guy was seen as a real threat based on the context of the threat. If he threatened to kill him and his family it might be that it was to be his revenge for destroying his family through the congressman's own actions within his family.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J.Crobuzon

    To paraphrase Cantor, this is obviously the work of Republicans trying to make it appear is if a Democrat or Independent did something threatening. What DOES Cantor have to do to get shot?

    March 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    Ah the gas line cut. I heard on CNN that what was cut was a copper line on a propane tank in a bbq grill. Hardly a danger to anybody other than the person who cut it. After it all leaked out in 3 minutes, end of danger.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fran D.

    Tom Perriello is a Representative from VA; not a Senator. Everyone who is making threatening remarks about any of the members of congress should be punished in some way. If not, the threats will grow and violence will be the result.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sophia

    You play with fire you get burned!!They hyped the people up now it backfired on them.
    The guy should be arrested there is no accuse for that. They need to investigate all treats not just those made on republicans.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shirley

    I guess the pundits and news reporting on CNN, MSNBC, etc. which are loaded with dangerous rhetoric about political dissent is "inciting violence".

    March 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ann Marie

    I believe we still have something called probable cause in this country (although Congress may have repealed that this week – who knows). This means that in order to be arrested there must be some evidence to support the arrest. Just having people shout "I'm a victim, I'm a victim" doesn't cut it. To all the liberal "victims" who have been threatened – please produce the proof and let law enforcement do their job. Surely in this time of voice mail, twitter, camera phones etc. you can produce something.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jacqui

    Gee, we are all Americans. Can we get along for once? Threatening someone’s life whether democrat, republican or independent is a serious crime. They all deserve punishment.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Margesimpson

    Perhaps all you lefties forget too soon the incident in Denver where ALL the windows were broken out by two masked people, Denver police happening by at the time chased down one of the perps and arrested him, it turned out to be a left wing activist that raised campaign funds for Democrats. Of course the Establishment left wing media conspiracy was already posting stories about how this was all caused by Rush Limbaugh for criticizing Democrats, once it was revealed that it was a plant by the Democrats to make Republicans look bad, the story disappeared. Defend that.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    I'm a little suspicious of these kind of things because a threat can be considered anything. Did the guy say "i am going to kill you" or did he say "I wish you were dead". There is a difference between the two because one is describing an action he is going to do as in "I am got to" and the other is just describing what he hopes happens to the guy that may or may not involve any personal action that he takes as in saying "I wish my neighbor would cut his lawn".

    Peronsally, this whole thing about evil militias is really bullshit to begin with because I can't figure out what crime has been committed for a bunch of guys to have machine guns and lots of ammo. For once, I want to hear these guys were planning this and see the plans and not these guys had guns becuase just having guns is not a threat to anyone.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. OARFNY

    If this had been an effort to threaten a Democrat representative, just as wrong and illegal, the coverage would be wall-to-wall 25 hours a day zbout the evil Republicans. I note the liberal comments on this thread are the usual, juvenile, mis-spelled rants of self-appointed intellectuals. Sad, so sad. But, typical.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
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