WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida man threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell and his children in a series of voicemails left at the California Democrat’s Washington office last month, federal prosecutors said.
Michael Shapiro, 72, of Greenacres, Florida, was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of transmitting a threatening communication, according to court records. He made his initial appearance in West Palm Beach federal court, where a bond of $250,000 was set.
According to a criminal complaint, Shapiro left five voicemail messages at Swalwell’s office D.C. office on Dec. 19. The complaint doesn’t name the member of Congress, but Swalwell confirmed that the messages were left for him in a social media post on Wednesday.
“No threat is going to stop me from representing my constituents,” Swalwell said. “MAGA Republicans have chosen violence over voting and this is what it looks like.”
In one of the messages, Shapiro stated that he was going to “come after you and kill you,” according to the complaint. In another message, he stated that he was going to “come and kill your children,” officials said.
Shapiro also accused Swalwell of being a Chinese spy, despite multiple investigations revealing no evidence of such activity. Suspected spy, Christine Fang, came into contact with Swalwell’s campaign as he was first running for Congress in 2012 and participated in fundraising for his 2014 campaign.
Federal investigators alerted Swalwell to their concerns and briefed Congress about Fang in 2015, at which point Swalwell says he cut off contact with her. The House Ethics Committee began a probe of Swalwell’s connection to Fang in 2021, but the probe ended last year without finding any wrongdoing.
Shapiro placed the threatening calls from his home in South Florida, investigators said. The complaint also noted that Shapiro pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 for making threatening communications to another victim.
A defense attorney for Shapiro didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment from The Associated Press.