Tacoma – A 48-year-old Longview, Washington, man was arrested this morning on a criminal complaint charging seven counts of making interstate threats, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Mark Leonetti has allegedly repeatedly called U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives and left voicemails threatening bodily harm. Leonetti will appear today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
“Making horrific and graphic threats to harm is always unacceptable, and we must always take threats of political violence seriously. In this instance, Mr. Leonetti refused to stop his conduct despite contact with law enforcement and mental health personnel,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “We acted now because it has become clear it is the only way to safeguard the community and those serving it.”
According to the criminal complaint, in 2021, Leonetti allegedly left more than 400 voicemails for members of Congress, several of which used slurs and were threatening. This pattern of allegedly leaving voicemails for federal elected officials continued despite Leonetti being visited and warned several times by law enforcement and mental health professionals. In early September 2022, he left threatening voicemails in the voicemail box of a congresswoman. Emergency mental health professionals again contacted Leonetti after those calls. In late September and October 2022, Leonetti left additional threatening voicemails for a different senator and a congressman. The most recent voicemails were left on December 5, 2022 and contained bizarre and threatening statements about “murder” and “killing” individuals.
Making interstate threats is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the Longview Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Will Dreher.