Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

YouTube Death Threat against Rep. Eric Cantor Nets Two-Year Prison Term

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

YouTube Death Threat against Rep. Eric Cantor Nets Two-Year Prison Term

Article excerpt

Norman LeBoon, the man who admitted to posting a death threat against Rep. Eric Cantor on YouTube, received a two-year prison sentence Thursday.

A Philadelphia man was sentenced on Thursday to two years in prison for making threats on a YouTube video against Eric Cantor, a Jewish US congressman from Virginia, and members of his family.

Norman LeBoon pleaded guilty in November to making the threats. He admitted that he used his cell phone camera and computer to record the threats and then posted the resulting video on YouTube on March 26, 2010.

Federal prosecutors characterized Mr. LeBoon's video statement as "extremely disturbing."

Although the First Amendment protects free speech in general, it is a well established crime to make threats of violence against the president, members of Congress, or other government officials.

The issue has come into sharp focus with what some analysts say is an escalation of hostile political rhetoric among elected officials, party operatives, and television pundits. Those dangers were underscored with January's mass shooting and attempted assassination of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by a constituent whose mental state is in question.

LeBoon's statement said in part: "My Congressman Eric Cantor, and you and your cupcake evil wife... Remember Eric... our judgment time, the final Yom Kippur has been given. You are a liar, you're a Lucifer, you're a pig, a greedy [deleted by The Monitor] pig, you're an abomination, you receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer's abominations."

The statement was posted on YouTube at a time when multiple threats were being made against members of Congress in early 2010 following the heated debate over the health care reform law. In addition, it was posted one day after news reports that a bullet was shot through the window of Cantor's campaign office in Richmond.

No one was in the office at the time. Richmond police said it appeared the bullet was not aimed at Cantor or his office, rather it was the result of someone firing a gun into the air.

They said the bullet struck the window at a sharp angle and landed on the floor of the office one foot inside the broken window. …

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