Well, we can officially blame the leftwing climate of hate on cable television for driving people to commit crime. The folks over there must be so proud of themselves.
TAMPA - A Spring Hill man who threatened U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite(R-FL) during the health care debate will spend more than two years in federal prison.
Eric Lawrence Pidrman, 66, claims he was in an alcoholic blackout when he telephoned Brown-Waite's office about 6:30 a.m. on March 25 and left a message saying he had 27 people who would make sure she "doesn't live to see her next term."
"I'm terribly sorry that it ever happened," Pidrman said this morning before he was sentenced. At the time of the morning he made the call, he said, "I very often watch the recycled news shows on MSNBC."
When agents questioned Pidrman in April, he said he was upset about threats reportedly made against Democrats during the health care debate. He said he probably thought, "Let me scare one of those righties."
Pidrman also opposed Brown-Waite's support for the exhumation of veterans buried in France.
U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday imposed a 27-month sentence, more than twice as long as recommended by the prosecution under a plea deal. The government had agreed not to oppose a term at the low end of the sentencing guidelines, which called for 12 to 18 months behind bars.
But Merryday said he felt a longer term was required because of the gravity of the threats.
"These threats are disturbing, and they are calculated to interfere with the operation of the community," he said. "It is not an inconsequential matter to interfere with a congressional representative's right to cast their vote freely."
After Pidrman is released from prison, he must serve three years of probation during which he must refrain from alcohol and have no contact with Brown-Waite.
Defense attorney Ronald Kurpiers asked the judge not to send Pidrman to prison. He said his client has prostate cancer, osteoarthritis and other medical problems, and has no one in his life other than his 11-year-old dog and his neighbor.
Kurpiers said Pidrman is "an avid reader and an avid watcher of television."
"He gets wrapped up in the news," the lawyer said. "He got wrapped up in the health care decision."
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