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. BoulderBill

    Not sure how credible the threat was as it was posted as a Youtube video... have you seen how many imbeciles make threats on the Internet? Just read a few comments.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Christopher Columbus

    Those Democrats are unhinged!! We need to pass some laws!!! Socialists will do ANYTHING to silence dissent. Man the left are some unstable people.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. knox6

    You poor democrats! What is wrong with you?? Threatening violence against either political party is wrong and all you can do is complain that there have not been any arrests made for the Democrats. Maybe it is Bush's fault?? Maybe it's because Obama is an African American?? Get a life.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. diane

    i think the repubs are behind trying to tear down all the good things the prestdent is doing for the american people, they are only interested in keeping themselves and the rich--richer.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keith from Wisconsin

    Babs
    Last I checked threatening to vote for someone else in the next election is not against the law. Should that ever change we might need these militias, until then lets store them in a state penn.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. OARFNY

    I forgot to add that various agencies have reported that there has been no increase in the threats against the President or members of Congress in recent weeks. Threats come by the hundreds daily. Always have. It's sad but true. Did against Bush, Clinton, etc. The recent hysteria led by Hoyer and Pelosi is manufactured outrage to try and regain the political offensive.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Angel M

    So Canter, a Republican gets a threat and an arrest is made inmmediatelly, a democarat in Arizona gets a threat from a woman and no arrest is made. Answer, Republicans are a mafia that are protected by businesses and they are bought to serve. Republicans also complaint about democrats fanning anger. Let's not forget that it was the Republicans during the campaing (Sarah Palin comes to mind) that started the whole racist, terrorist non citizen crap.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Adam

    There have been articles on both sides getting threats since Sunday last week when the House first passed the bill. ALL threats against either side are deplorable. Utterly idiotic and stupid. Anyone who can't discuss their problems like a grown up and has to resort to childish "fighting" is not worthy of the title "American." That goes for all the idiotic fighting in Congress as well, but especially anyone resorting to violence. Simply not right at all.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Abby

    This type of behavior is unacceptable. Our elected official (and ordinary citizens) should not have to tolerate threats and acts of violence. However, what is more upsetting is that the leaders of the conservative right wing Republicans have caused this violent frenzy that is sweeping the nation. Now the threats and violence are being hurled in their direction. I do not feel any satisfaction because it is now being re-directed towards the ones that started it. It is sad because these criminal and threatening actions diminish the true meaning of democracy.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tim

    Let's face it– both parties have radical wing nuts on the periphery...both are capable of complete zaniness and even potential viollence– we need to come togther as a nation and get back to discussing and debating the issues in rational tones. Get rid of Palin and her friend from Minnesota and the teabaggers might go back underground where they belong. get rid of Pelosi, Coburn, Bunning and Reid and we might have folks working together again in the house... we are only as strong a nation as the sum of our thoughtful and rational parts.. we need dialogue and ideas.. we need solutions...it's a big and diverse country with wonderful people for the most part.. get rid of the radicals. Embrace cohesiveness. Seize the moment, people. We are all Americans looking for a better future!

    March 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mike

    I'm going to be like a Republican and just simply deny (the facts) that anyone REALLY threatened Mr. Weasel (aka Cantor)... and deny that the police ACTUALLY arrested him. "It's all just a big, left-wing PLOT to gain political advantage... somehow... (similar to Cantor lying about the bullet..)

    The story never says the idiot they arrested is a Democrat... my bet is he's one of the wacky, wing-nut TEABAGGERS who seem to hate the party of "no" as much as they do the Democrats. Maybe there should be open season on THEM? I'm willing to bet they are not the only ones who own the guns. Wild west here we go again!!

    With Sister Sara (Palin) telling everyone to "reload" she might just be surprised that Democrats know how to hunt too. Thankfully we do have laws against the nut-jobs dangerous actions whatever political bent they may take.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. double standard

    Why all of a sudden the person that threaten cantor is arrested but when the dems get spit in the face and threaten and when people was bringing guns to the presidents speaking engagements the Feds didn't do a darn thing and further more they didn't get a hole page on CNN like cantor, with your bias selves.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. FredHere

    You have a Right to Bear Arms, double. They were told to disperse, and they did. One thing to show of your unconcealed registered guns (which I don't necessarily agree with or encourage) and it's another to shoot them. Gives good gun owners a bad name. And you're right, the people who spit on the politicians, while perhaps justifiable, pose a risk of spreading a deadly disease with their spit and should probably be taught a lesson. But that's an expensive lesson that the rest of us taxpayer's have to bear and the police have more serious things to deal with. Freedom of Speech is not free of cost....on many levels.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. double standard

    If CNN investigated like WOLF BLITIZER did when cantor lied and said his office get shot in imagine the if this is a lie i say let's see the suspect on the news lets see the feds verify in the media, I don't trust Cnn nor Faux.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mack Johnson

    This does not past a routine smell test. A person can be identified and arrested for threatening Cantor–arguably the only right-winger "threatened" around the time of passage of the Healthcare bill–but you can not find persons threatening Stupak. Could an accommodating law enforcement person have been in waiting to call FOX as soon as someone was picked up? Go back and read Cantor's statement of a few day ago accusing democrats of (using threats as media vehicles for political gain; stating that threats should be turned over to law enforcement and all the rest of it. Now lift the thrust of his comments and layer them over the circumstances of this report

    March 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
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