John Kless accused of uttering death threats against Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Cory Booker, officials say



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Protesters clashed in Minnesota in front of a venue where President Trump was scheduled to appear Monday, a few days after tweeting a video of the twin towers on fire under remarks by representative Ilhan Omar (D-Min.). (Kerem Yucel / AFP / Getty Images)

A Florida man was arrested on Friday and accused of threatening phone calls to Democratic officials in which he made racist remarks about Muslims, Blacks and the Republic. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

John Kless, 49, of the Fort Lauderdale area, has been accused of posing a state-to-state threat, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, spokeswoman for Fajardo Orshan, the US District Attorney for South Florida, said Kless should be released Friday afternoon with a $ 25,000 bail. Weapons he possessed had been seized, but refused to give details.

Officials said Mr. Kless had made a series of disturbing phone calls Tuesday from 7 am with a call to the office of Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat who had recently announced a presidential campaign for 2020 .

"The day you pick on our guns," Kless said in a voice message, "it's the day you'll be dead," according to the complaint filed by the Federal Court against him. He blamed 9/11 and "illegal entries" and used the keyword to describe welfare recipients, prosecutors said.

"You will die," continued Kless, according to the complaint. "You will be your death bed … with all the other Democrats."

About 10 minutes later, he left a message to the representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Said officials. She and Omar are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress.

Prosecutors said he had long criticized Omar, particularly putting the spotlight on how she had evoked the September 11 terrorist attacks during a recent event and on the use of several racial epithets to describe it, as well as Tlaib. He called Tlaib "Taliban" and Omar a "towel head".

"You know what, she is lucky to receive only death threats," he said, according to the complaint. "You're too, okay … Because the day the bell rings … and this country goes to war, there will be more than threat. "

Prosecutors said that he added that "we were millions to hate you … for what you did on September 11" and that he also used racist and Muslim epithets against the 39, former President Barack Obama.

The arrest came at a time when supporters of Omar complained that fixing his statements on 9/11 could be an incitement to violence.

In a speech on Islamophobia in March, Omar spoke of September 11 in a way that some say was meaningless. She said the fact that "some people have done something" does not mean that all Muslims must lose their civil liberties.

But this formulation has become an overture for conservatives – such as Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.), Donald Trump Jr. and, possibly, President Trump – to attack Omar. Brian Kilmeade, host of "Fox & Friends", has been repeatedly criticized in his commentary. She wondered if she had a double loyalty, although he later stated that it was not a personal attack. Trump tweeted a video of the glowing twin towers of the World Trade Center adjoined to Omar's remarks.

Prosecutors said Kless's last threatening phone call on Tuesday was addressed to Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Candidate for the Presidency. He called Booker "n-word" and other racial epithets, continued to complain about Omar 11/11's remark and made several threats of violence, according to a transcript included in the indictment.

"We must all kill you," he said, according to the transcript.

Kless had previously telephoned the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), In which he denounced abortion, illegal immigration, Muslims in Congress and the people who told him were taking up arms, announced the complaint.

Kless did not respond to a request for comment left on his voicemail.

Omar said the number of threats against her had increased after Trump had tweeted the video about him, including many referring directly to the video.

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