A Smithtown man has pleaded guilty to threatening to harm United States senators.
On Feb. 28, Ronald DeRisi pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Central Islip to threatening to assault and murder two U.S. senators in retaliation for their support of the nomination and confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This defendant threatened to assault and murder two sitting United States senators in an effort to intimidate them and interfere with their performance of official duties,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Ours is a system of laws — not threats — and the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute those who seek to undermine the integrity of our constitutional system through violence.”
In September and October of 2018, DeRisi telephoned and left more than 10 threatening voice messages at the offices of two United States senators using a prepaid cellular telephone that was recovered when DeRisi was arrested Oct. 19, 2018. Live ammunition during the execution of a search warrant was also seized. Federal prosecutors have not identified the two senators threatened.
According to an Oct. 25, 2018, article in The Times of Smithtown, police said they believe DeRisi left two voice mails Sept. 27 for one senator, who is only identified as their home state “is not New York.” While the male caller did not identify himself, in the first message it was said he had a “present” for the elected official, specifically, “a 9mm [gun].”
In a second voice mail recorded less than an hour later, the caller ranted, “We’re tired of this guy. Sucking taxpayers’ money! Getting a free [expletive] ride! How many more years you gonna do it? None! He’s a dead man!”
In addition, DeRisi allegedly left 10 voice mails at the Washington, D.C., office of a second senator between Oct. 6 and 8, according to capital police. The male caller did not identify himself by name in any of the messages. In one call, the man police believe to be DeRisi allegedly attempted to get the senator’s home address.
“Thanks to you [Senator], we now have a sexual predator on the Supreme Court …,” the caller stated in one voice mail, according to court records. “Good job [senator], thank you very much. We will proceed to correct it …”
DeRisi has a prior record of making threatening phone calls dating back to February 2015. He pled guilty to one count of second-degree aggravated harassment in Nassau County 1st District Court after repeatedly calling a victim’s home and office more than 15 times.
DeRisi faces up to 10 years in prison, and as part of his plea agreement with the government will forfeit two rifles to the United States.