A Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday, June 17, to threatening Rep. Emanuel Cleaver along with another member of Congress.
Kenneth Hubert was arrested in March and has pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening a U.S. government official after he threatened Missouri Rep. Cleaver and Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of six years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
The 63-year-old Marionville man reportedly threatened Cohen, who is Jewish, and Cleaver, who is Black, using references to nooses, The Kansas City Star reported.
In May 2019, Hubert called Cohen’s office and said he had “a noose with the congressman’s name on it” and he planned to “put a noose around his neck and drag him behind his pickup truck,” he admitted in a signed plea agreement.
When the FBI contacted Hubert about the threat three days later, he told investigators he was offended by a comment Cohen made about then-president Donald Trump, although it’s not clear to what comment Hubert was referring.
Then, a day after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Hubert called Cleaver’s office and left a voicemail in which he said the congressman was “as dumb as a rock” and added, “How about a noose around his neck?” Hubert said he disliked the fact that Cleaver ended the opening prayer on the first day of Congress by saying, “Amen and A-woman.”
As investigators spoke to Hubert about the threat against Cleaver, he told them he had previously been investigated by the Secret Service for saying President Barack Obama “needed to be hanged from a light post.”
In the plea agreement, Hubert admitted that the threats were made with the intent to retaliate against the two congressman.
“By entering into this plea agreement, the defendant admits that he knowingly committed these offenses, and is, in fact, guilty of these offenses,” the plea agreement said.
While Hubert has no convictions on his record, he has a history of making threats dating back to 2014, when he called a Montana federal judge after the state ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
The day of the insurrection, which he did not participate in, Hubert called the Missouri Democratic Party and said members should “stay in hiding.”