A Georgia man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for threatening a pair of U.S. senators, including South Carolina’s Tim Scott.
41-year-old Jason Bell admitted in May to two counts of anonymous telecommunications harassment, according to documents released by federal prosecutors. The Associated Press reports Bell called Scott’s office almost a dozen times last October, threatening to kill the Republican senator. Bell also admitted making a similar threat to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
According to an indictment, Bell was upset that Scott criticized President Trump’s response to attacks on anti-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the time, Scott suggested Trump’s moral authority had been “complicated” by his insistence that neo-Nazis and counter-protestors were both to blame for the violence that ensued.
During the call to Scott’s Office, prosecutors said Bell told a staffer he could “not understand that mother—-” for saying that “Neo-Nazi and white people are the problem” and then added “I am going to kill that mother—-.” The staffer told investigators Bell hung up before identifying himself, but called back 15 minutes later and gave his name.
At one point, Bell asked “are we as a white people supposed to just stand for this injustice or do we do what Dylann Roof did?” referring to the white supremacist sentenced to death after his conviction for murdering nine African-American worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Prosecutors said Capitol Police later contacted Bell directly to discuss the phone calls, and he told them he was not violent but trying to have a conversation.
Ultimately, the Cochran, Ga., native pleaded guilty to two counts of anonymous telecommunications harassment. DeKalb County (Georgia) deputies initially charged him with making terroristic threats.