Days before the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, a 45-year-old man in south suburban Chicago Heights threatened violence at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, federal authorities here alleged Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Chicago said Louis Capriotti left a threatening voicemail message on Dec. 29 for an unnamed congressman from New Jersey.
In the message, Capriotti allegedly said, “We will surround the [expletive] White House and we will kill any [expletive] Democrat that steps on the [expletive] lawn.”
Capriotti also “allegedly stated that if certain individuals ‘think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that [f***ing] White House on Jan. 20, they’re sadly [expletive] mistaken,” according to a news release from the office of John Lausch, the top federal prosecutor in Chicago.
“Our office takes the security of our public servants very seriously,” Lausch said. “Individuals who cross the line of free speech by making unlawful threats will be held accountable.”
Authorities said Capriotti “has a history of leaving profane voicemails for members of Congress” and was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in Chicago at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The alleged threats from Capriotti came a few days before before Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The riot, which left five dead and temporarily suspended Congress, followed a rally where outgoing President Donald Trump called on supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight” to overturn his re-election defeat to Biden in November.
Federal and local prosecutors in Washington have filed charges against dozens of people who allegedly participated in the pro-Trump mob, including a businessman from northwest suburban Inverness.
Dan Mihalopoulos is an investigative reporter on WBEZ’s Government & Politics Team.