The Justice Department said that a Greenacres, Florida man was apprehended a few days before Christmas for making a slew of unsettling threats against the lives of Representative Eric Swalwell and his three little children.
Federal prosecutors said that the South Floridian threatened to murder U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell and his children in several voicemails that were left at the Washington office of the California Democrat last month.
72-year-old Michael Shapiro was taken into custody on Wednesday morning on suspicion of sending a threatening message, as stated in court documents. A $250,000 bail was established when he first appeared in federal court in West Palm Beach.
On December 19, Shapiro allegedly left five voicemail messages to Swalwell’s Washington, DC, office, as stated in a criminal complaint. Even though the congressman isn’t named in the complaint, in a Wednesday social media post, Swalwell acknowledged that he had been contacted.
Although the 43-year-old California Democrat Swalwell was not named in the criminal complaint that was released on Wednesday, he did affirm that he and his family had been the victims of the violent threats.
On Wednesday, Shapiro appeared in court for the first time and was granted bail. Concerning threatening voicemails, this is not Shapiro’s only encounter with the legal system. The Florida man entered a guilty plea in federal court in 2019 for communicating threats to another victim.
Despite investigations that uncovered no misconduct, Shapiro continued to accuse Swalwell of being a Chinese spy. Christine Fang, who is believed to be a “honeypot” spy, was involved with Congressman Eric Swalwell’s campaign from his 2012 race and continued into his 2014 campaign.
Swalwell said he severed ties with Fang in 2015 when federal investigators informed him of their concerns and briefed Congress on the matter. After beginning their investigation into Swalwell’s ties to Fang in 2021, the House Ethics Committee cleared Swallwell of wrongdoing.
According to police, Shapiro made the menacing phone calls from his residence in South Florida.