Omaha man charged for email threat against Bob Kerrey

2012-08-17T16:30:00Z 2012-08-17T18:36:18Z Omaha man charged for email threat against Bob KerreyBy LORI PILGER / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

An Omaha man who sent an email asking a political action committee for permission to put "bullets in democrat heads" faces a federal charge for it.

Laurence McCabe admits he sent the Aug. 7 email to End the Gridlock, a super PAC with an office in the Washington, D.C., area, but he argues it was political speech and not threatening.

McCabe, a 68-year-old lifelong Republican, told KETV he was upset over a political attack ad against Deb Fischer paid for by the End The Gridlock political action committee.

The FBI says he sent a four-sentence email to scare the super PAC and give notice he thought what it was doing was wrong.

"To end the grid lock I have your permission to put bullets in democrat heads?" he wrote. "Let me know if you have a preference which scum should be first. I might suggest Bob Kerry (sic)."

FBI Agent Jonathan Robitaille said the Democratic PAC contacted the FBI, which tracked the email address to McCabe, a retired Omaha Public Schools employee.

He said the Secret Service talked to McCabe about two years ago about a threat to President Barack Obama.

McCabe was charged in U.S. District Court in Omaha this week with communication of a threat.

Omaha police arrested him Wednesday, and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Higgins recommended continued detention, arguing McCabe is a danger to the community.

Federal Public Defender David Stickman questioned whether the email contained a threat to injure someone.

"We're talking about political speech here, obviously," he said.

In the end, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas D. Thalken found probable cause that a crime was committed but released McCabe.

If convicted, he could get as many as five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and as many as three years of supervised release.

Reach Lori Pilger at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com or follow her on Twitter at LJSpilger.

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