Arizona man accused of threatening congressman Adam Schiff

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A March 9 trial date has been set for an Arizona man accused of making a threatening phone call to California U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff last year.

Federal court records released Tuesday said Jan Peter Meister was indicted on accusations that he called Schiff’s Washington office from Tucson around Oct. 1 and left an expletive-laden voicemail saying he planned to injure Schiff.

U.S. Capitol Police determined through caller ID and investigation that Meister left the voicemail, authorities said.

Prosecutors say police went to Meister’s home on Oct. 3 and he said he was intoxicated when he made the call and didn’t remember specifics of the incident. Court documents say Meister told authorities that he “strongly dislikes Democrats” and that he was probably upset about something he saw on Fox News.

The House launched its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in late September, and Schiff was one of the leaders behind the effort.

Authorities later searched Meister’s house and reported finding two handguns and a rifle plus more than 700 rounds of ammunition. They said Meister claimed the firearms and accessories belonged to his wife.

Meister, 52, later was indicted on one count of making a threat through interstate commerce. He’s also facing a charge of one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Court records show Meister served prison time beginning in 1989 for two separate sex offenses in Maryland.

Meister’s public defenders say there’s little evidence their client could have carried out the alleged threat against Schiff.

But prosecutors say that if convicted, Meister faces a five-year sentence over the threat and a 10-year sentence on the gun charge.

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