A Georgia man pleaded guilty to threatening to “physically injure” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Republican Sen. Timothy Scott of South Carolina, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
During one threat to Scott, prosecutors said Jason Bell admitted to invoking the name of an avowed white supremacist convicted of killing nine black parishioners inside a South Carolina church.
Bell, 41, of Cochran, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of anonymous telecommunications harassment, U.S. Attorney Charles Peerler said in a news release.
“Mr. Bell’s decision to threaten and harass two United States Senators will not be tolerated in the Middle District of Georgia,” he said in the release. “Indeed, there is no place in our Country for this conduct.”
Bell made the first call March 1, 2017, to Schumer’s office. Within an hour, Bell left several messages threatening to harm the New York Democrat, Peeler said.
Roughly six months later, Bell, who is white, made similar threats to Scott, who is black. In the Oct. 23 profanity-laced threats, Peeler said Bell mentioned Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death for carrying out the 2015 massacre of the nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
At one point during the threat, prosecutors said Bell asked, “are we as a white people supposed to just stand for this injustice or do we do what Dylann Roof did?”
It was not clear if Scott or Schumer were in their offices during the threats. Bell did not identify himself when he called the senators.
Bell’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both for each count.