Keith Eisenberger admitted to cyberstalking and making threatening statements about Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and his family between Nov. 27, 2018, and May 11, 2022.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate online threats of violence meant to intimidate elected officials or members of our community,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “Keith Eisenberger now understands there are legal repercussions to committing these criminal acts.”
Eisenberger began making “concerning statements” when Hern succeeded Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine in November 2018, when Bridenstine resigned to become NASA administrator.
The DOJ said Eisenberger was known for showing up uninvited and lying to gain entry to political events. Over time, Eisenberger’s statements, which were made on social media and during visits and phone calls to Hern’s DC and Tulsa offices, became more violent.
At times, Hern required increased security as a result of some of the threats, according to court documents.
“While the First Amendment gives us the right to express our own opinions, it does not protect those who cross the line of making violent criminal threats,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge, Edward J. Gray. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure elected officials can perform the duties of their office safely.”
According to court documents, Eisenberger was escorted by armed U.S. Capitol Police officer away from Hern’s Washington, D.C., offices in January 2019, after he appeared demanding to see the congressman.
“He later told U.S. Capitol Police special agents that he was angry with Hern because he believed the congressman had been appointed to the seat without Eisenberger being considered for it. He then stated that he had flown to Washington, D.C., on a one-way ticket and would not be returning until Hern resigned,” the DOJ said.
According to the DOJ, Eisenberger admitted that he threatened and harassed Hern on social media intending to “cause emotional distress to Hern and his immediate family.”
In November 2020, Eisenberger suggested on social media that Hern and the state of Oklahoma deserved to be “federally executed” and that if that was not feasible, then the resignation, death, or Hern’s expulsion was acceptable, according to an FBI affidavit (pdf).
According to court documents, in October 2021, Eisenberger said in a lengthy video posted to Facebook—and later deleted—that he would assault Hern when the “cameras are on us,” whether it be at a debate, a conference, or elsewhere.
In another social media post on May 11, Eisenberger stated that he hoped to kidnap Hern and his wife from their beds. He further wished harm would come to the congressman’s family.
“May the God I invoke bring sudden cardiac seizing blessings upon Tammy Hern and her Hern children,” Eisenberger wrote.
The FBI agent said Eisenberger’s post named the street Hern lives on and that extra security was assigned to the congressman’s home after the post.
The DOJ said that Eisenberger “further admitted that during the same timeframe, he threatened to assault and kidnap Hern with the intent to interfere with the congressman’s official duties and to retaliate against him.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Nassar is prosecuting the case. Eisenberger faces up to 25 years in prison for threatening a member of office.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a hyperlink to the FBI’s affidavit.
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