A federal judge sentenced a New York state man to 366 days in prison for saying he wanted to kill Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 56, of Addison, N.Y., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday after pleading guilty in November to threatening to assault and kill a United States official and being a felon in possession of firearms.
The Minneapolis Democrat submitted a letter to Judge Frank Geraci soon after the plea asking that he spare Carlineo a lengthy prison sentence for calling her Capitol Hill office early last year and threatening to shoot her in the head.
The sentence falls at the low end of the federal guidelines calling for 12 to 18 months in prison. Also, that 366th day qualifies Carlineo to be released upon good behavior after 10 months.
Carlineo's defense attorney said Sunday that she argued for a sentence of time served, 29 days, and feels Geraci did not take Omar's wishes into account.
"In my view, a prison sentence is clearly contrary to the spirit of congresswoman Omar's letter and to the views she's expressed more generally about criminal justice," said attorney Sonya Zoghlin.
"It's clear she views incarceration as a last resort — a punishment to be used sparingly and only when necessary to protect the community. This is not one of those cases."
Through a spokesman Monday, Omar said she has decided not to comment about the sentence imposed.
Two days before Carlineo was sentenced, the prosecution said in a court filing that the range of 12 to 18 months was "consistent with congresswoman Omar's request ... and could not be fairly characterized as severe or unduly harsh."
In her letter, Omar urged the judge "for a system of compassion to be applied" while not downplaying the seriousness of Carlineo's threat.
"This was not just a threat against me as an individual," she wrote to Geraci, who won presidential appointment to the bench by Barack Obama, "it was a threat against an entire religion, at a time of rising hate crimes against religious minorities in our country."
Omar, who in recent months has received other death threats, went on to appeal to the judge to show leniency.
"Punishing the defendant with a lengthy prison sentence or a burdensome financial fine would not rehabilitate him. It would not repair the harm he has caused. It would only increase his anger and resentment."
Geraci chose not to impose a fine that could have ranged from $5,500 to $55,000.
Prosecutors said Carlineo called Omar's office on March 21 and said, "Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull.
"Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive]. ... I'll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull."
After the staff member received the call, the threat was referred to the U.S. Capitol Police, which investigated along with the FBI.
Carlineo told an FBI agent eight days later that he was a patriot who loves President Donald Trump and hates radical Muslims in the government.