Rep. Maxine Waters, “No one is above the law”

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Man who threatened the iconic congresswoman sentenced

By Francis Taylor, Executive Editor

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United States Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, said no one is above the law and the $10,000 fine along with the two-year, nine-month term in federal prison, will serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking of threatening the life of a United States official, at the sentencing hearing of Brian Gaherty, a 61-year-old man from Houston, Texas, who was sentenced today at the Roybal Federal Building in Downtown Los Angeles.

After making a series of violent and racist phone calls to the Hawthorne office of Rep. Waters and threatening her with death, in January, Gaherty pleaded guilty to one felony count of threatening a United States official. The criminal indictment filed in federal court states that Gaherty called the congresswoman’s office twice in August 2022 and twice in November 2022. Gaherty left four voicemails, each containing a threat, and in one of the calls Gaherty threatened to “cut your throat.”

Gaherty “knowingly threatened to assault and kill (Waters) with the intent to impede, intimidate and interfere” with the elected official while she was engaged in the performance of her official duties, according to the April 2023 indictment.

“Threats to harm and kill an elected official impact the intended victim, her entire staff and every constituent who is not receiving services because the elected official is dealing with the security threat,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada previously said in a statement.

At the sentencing hearing Rep. Waters delivered a powerful victim’s statement referencing her children and grandchildren who had been impacted by the threats made by the defendant as well as the pride she has for being able to represent her constituents throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area for over 33 years. She indicated that in addition to her official duties she is also a resident of Los Angeles whose routine trips in her neighborhood have been dangerous because of not knowing if someone calling her name meant to do her any harm. She said she was frightened and in fear of her life.

Gaherty also made a statement before he was sentenced, claiming that he was a Christian and did not recall making some of those phone calls, even though he did not deny what he did. He said he was sorry for what he had done and said, “as God is my witness, it will never happen again.” 

Rep. Waters said his remarks were the sign of a guilty man who would say anything to minimize the amount of prison time he would receive. She also reiterated her comment that the fine and nearly three years in prison should be a deterrent to others.

The United States Capitol Police and the FBI investigated this matter and Assistant United States Attorney Laura A. Alexander of the General Crimes Section prosecuted this case.

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