Florida man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Rep. Eric Swalwell and his kids

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Florida man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Rep. Eric Swalwell and his kids

A Florida man was arrested Wednesday in connection with threats to kill Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and his children.

Swalwell was not named in the court documents, but he confirmed that the threats targeted him and his family.

“There is no place in America for threats of political violence,” Swalwell said in a statement Wednesday night. “We must always resolve our differences at the ballot box. While I will continue to protect my family and staff these continued threats will never stop me from representing my constituents.”

Michael Shapiro, 72, of Greenacres, made his initial appearance Wednesday in connection with the threats, the Justice Department said. He was released on bail and has an arraignment scheduled for Jan. 24.

According to a criminal complaint, Shapiro left a series of threatening voicemails at Swalwell’s congressional office in Washington, D.C., last month.

The five voicemail messages Shapiro is alleged to have made from his Florida home on Dec. 19 included threats to “come after you and kill you” and a threat to “come and kill your children.”

Shapiro left other voicemails that appeared to refer to allegations tying Swalwell to a suspected Chinese intelligence operative, according to the complaint. They repeatedly refer to “a Chinese spy” and “Fang Fang,” it says.

The House Ethics Committee last year ended its investigation into Swalwell, dating to 2021, over allegations that he had ties to a suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang.

That investigation arose from an Axios report that Fang was involved in fundraising operations for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election bid and helped put an intern in his office.

It is not the first time Shapiro has been accused of making threats. He pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 to making threatening communications to another victim, according to the complaint.

An attorney listed for Shapiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

Shapiro’s arrest comes amid a wave of threats to public officials and those seeking political office.

A New Hampshire man was indicted last month after threatening text messages were allegedly sent to three presidential candidates, including Republicans Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie.

Threats have also reached state officials, with at least six state capitol complexes being forced to evacuate Wednesday morning because of bomb threats. Last month, the FBI said it was working to address threats to Colorado Supreme Court justices after the court deemed former President Donald Trump ineligible for the state’s Republican primary ballot.

Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

Zoë Richards

Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.

Michael Kosnar

and

Ryan J. Reilly

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