An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to cyberstalking and threatening to kidnap and assault Republican Rep. Kevin Hern and his wife.
Keith Charles Eisenberger is from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and has been known for showing up, uninvited, to various political events in attempts to get close to political figures, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Oklahoma reported.
Eisenberger has made “concerning statements” in the past, dating back to November 2018 after Hern won his first term.
He made threats on social media and visited Hern’s congressional offices both in Tulsa and Washington, D.C., greatly escalating the situation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office report.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate online threats of violence meant to intimidate elected officials or members of our community. Keith Eisenberger now understands there are legal repercussions to committing these criminal acts,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said.
Eisenberger admitted that between November 2018 and May 2022, he threatened and harassed Hern electronically. His intent was to cause emotional distress on the Hern family.
He also admitted that at that time, he also threatened to kidap and assault Hern. In May 2022, he threatened to kidnap and assault Hern’s wife.
Now that Eisenberger has pleaded guilty, a plea agreement is on the table, calling for three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, NBC reported.
A judge will decide whether to accept the plea agreement or not.
Johnson’s office filed a sealed complaint against Eisenberger back in May, The Oklahoman reported.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Eisenberger had shown up in D.C. in January 2019 “yelling and demanding to see Hern.” He claimed that Hern had been appointed to his congressional seat without Eisenberger being considered from the position.At the time he said he wouldn’t return to Oklahoma until Hern resigned his seat.
Eisenberger also allegedly posted on social media in November 2020 (the time that Hern was re-elected) that Hern and Oklahoma deserve to be “federally executed.”
He said that either resignation, death or explusion of Hern was needed.
Then in a video posted in October of 2021, Eisenberger finally said that he would assault Hern.
In May, Eisenberger posted on social media that he hoped to kidnap Hern and his wife, the Oklahoman reported.
In light of the stream of threats, the FBI conducted an investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
“While the First Amendment gives us the right to express our own opinions, it does not protect those who cross the line of making violent criminal threats,” FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge, Edward J. Gray said, according to the U.S. Attorney’s report. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure elected officials can perform the duties of their office safely.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Nassar is now prosecuting the case.
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