An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty on Wednesday for threatening to kidnap and kill a Republican congressman and his wife, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.
Keith Eisenberger admitted to cyberstalking and making threatening statements about Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and his family between Nov. 27, 2018, and May 11, 2022.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “Keith Eisenberger now understands there are legal repercussions to committing these criminal acts.”
Eisenberger began making “concerning statements” when Hern succeeded Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine in November 2018, when Bridenstine resigned to become NASA administrator.
The DOJ said Eisenberger was known for showing up uninvited and lying to gain entry to political events. Over time, Eisenberger’s statements, which were made on social media and during visits and phone calls to Hern’s DC and Tulsa offices, became more violent.
Keith Eisenberger was known for showing up uninvited to political events & attempting to get close to politicians. Today, he pleaded guilty for cyberstalking & making multiple threatening statements regarding U.S. Representative Kevin Hern & his family. https://t.co/JCI8GEW8Vu pic.twitter.com/sq7u65fvbT
— U.S. Attorney NDOK (@USAO_NDOK) August 10, 2022
At times, Hern required increased security as a result of some of the threats, according to court documents.
“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,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge, Edward J. Gray. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure elected officials can perform the duties of their office safely.”
According to court documents, Eisenberger was escorted by armed U.S. Capitol Police officer away from Hern’s Washington, D.C., offices in