‘Threats hurt people’ — Judge orders Chicago Heights man detained over threat to Biden’s inauguration

‘Threats hurt people’ — Judge orders Chicago Heights man detained over threat to Biden’s inauguration

Dirksen Federal Courthouse | Sun-Times file

Louis Capriotti allegedly said if people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that f—ing White House on Jan. 20th, they’re sadly f—ing mistaken.”

A federal judge ordered a Chicago Heights man accused of threatening the inauguration of President Joe Biden held in federal custody Thursday, declaring threats cause harm “even if that person doesn’t intend to carry it out.”

“Threats hurt people,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes said. “They terrorize people. They make people afraid.”

Louis Capriotti, 45, was arrested near his home Jan. 12 and charged with transmitting a threat. He allegedly spent months calling members of Congress, screaming as he left them voicemails filled with profanity, racism and vague threats.

Then, in late December, the feds say the Chicago Heights man claimed in a call that, if people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that f—ing White House on Jan. 20th, they’re sadly f—ing mistaken.”

“We will surround the motherf—ing White House and we will kill any motherf—ing Democrat that steps on the motherf—ing lawn,” Capriotti allegedly said in a voicemail left for a member of Congress from New Jersey.

A federal prosecutor played a portion of the voicemail during Thursday’s hearing. In the recording, the person who left the message also refers to “motherf—ing p—-a– Republicans and these Democrat-f—ing terrorists,” and says “they’re going to have to go see a motherf—ing psychiatrist.” The person says, “Democrats are f—ing terrorists. They’re babykillers, gun-grabbers, God-hating, cop-hating, open borders, fake climate change c—sucking cheaters.”

Capriotti made his alleged threat roughly one week before the breach of the U.S. Capitol during the Electoral College vote count earlier this month. The FBI also warned of armed protests across the country ahead of the inauguration. They didn’t materialize, and Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States without incident Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Capriotti has been held in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center since his arrest.

Cook County Sheriff
Louis Capriotti

The members of Congress who allegedly received voicemails from Capriotti were not named in an 11-page criminal complaint filed against him. But the feds allege he “often screamed while leaving the messages” and spoke of raising “motherf—ing hell.”

The U.S. Capitol Police contacted the FBI in Chicago about Capriotti in January 2020, according to the complaint. On Feb. 7, 2020, agents interviewed Capriotti in Orland Park about earlier voicemails he allegedly left for members of Congress dating back to 2017.

During that interview, Capriotti allegedly verified it was his voice on the phone and that some of his messages could be interpreted as hateful and threatening. But he allegedly told agents he was “just f— with” members of Congress and “didn’t mean any ill will.”

He also told them he never served in the military, despite claims to the contrary made in the voicemails.

Agents then allegedly told Capriotti he could face charges if he continued to make the calls.

But the calls continued, the feds say. And in November and December, Capriotti allegedly left messages for members of Congress from Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

On Nov. 18, Capriotti allegedly called a member of Congress from Michigan and said he was “not from your state, but I am a nine-year Marine, active duty.” He said he had “killed” several “terrorists” and would “continue to kill them because that’s what I am trained to do.” He also allegedly said “in the next couple weeks, some big news is about to go down” and certain people “are going to be astonished of what’s going to be revealed.”

A Marine Corps spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times no record could be found of Capriotti serving in the Marines, despite his claims.

Also on Nov. 18, Capriotti allegedly left another voicemail calling another member of Congress from Michigan a “terrorist.” He said if that person believed Biden and now Vice President Kamala Harris were “going to walk into the White House” it would be a mistake.

“In a couple weeks, everything will be revealed of what’s going on,” Capriotti allegedly said.

On Dec. 4, Capriotti allegedly left a voicemail for a member of Congress from Pennsylvania, indicating that person should “choke in hell.”

Finally, on Dec. 29, Capriotti allegedly left a profane voicemail for the member of Congress from New Jersey. That’s when he allegedly left the threatening comment about Biden, adding that “Democrats are f—ing terrorists.”

At the end of the voicemail, Capriotti allegedly said he’d “like to put one right in” the “f—ing dome” of a former New Jersey governor, who was not named in the complaint.

Capriotti was previously charged with harassment by telephone in 2015, according to Cook County court records. Capriotti pleaded guilty in October 2016 and was sentenced to two years of probation, records show. That ended satisfactorily in October 2018.

Cook County prosecutors also brought charges against Capriotti on five other occasions between 2007 and 2014. He was arrested in southwest suburban Orland Park in 2008 and charged with violating an order of protection. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 75 days in the Cook County Jail, records show.

Two years later, he was charged with domestic battery stemming from another incident in Orland Park. Prosecutors dropped the charge two months later, but court records show the victim in the case requested an order of protection against Capriotti.

Four years later, Capriotti was charged with violating an order of protection in south suburban Matteson, according to court records. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in the Cook County Jail.

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