Man sentenced for threatening to hang six members of Congress

A New Hampshire man, who threatened to hang six members of Congress if they did not “get behind Donald Trump,” will spend 33 months in federal prison, according to officials. 

Ryder Winegar, 34, of Amherst, was sentenced for six counts of threatening members of Congress and one count of transmitting interstate threatening communications, acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley for the District of New Hampshire announced Wednesday in a news release.

Prosecutors said Winegar left the lawmakers voicemails in December 2020 in which he allegedly threatened to hang them if they did not “get behind” then-President Donald Trump. “I got some advice for you,” he said in one voicemail, according to prosecutors. “Here’s the advice: ‘Donald Trump is your president. If you don’t get behind him, we’re going to hang you until you die.’”

In another, Winegar said: “It really, really, it boils down to two camps. You either support our president, support liberty … or you’re not.” The messages included profane language that threatened to kill the lawmaker and criticized vaccinations. 

According to the federal complaint, Winegar identified himself by name or identified his telephone number in some of the messages. Authorities said Winegar also emailed a New Hampshire state representative in December 2020 a threat that said he would pull the lawmaker from his bed “and hang him.”

The next day, before investigators could to return to Winegar with search and arrest warrants, he flew to Brazil, prosecutors said. He was taken into custody when he returned to the U.S. on Jan. 11. 

Judge Farley said when sentencing Winegar that this “sends a clear message that threats of violence have no place in our political discourse” and “those who threaten to commit acts of violence against duly-elected legislators will be held accountable for their unlawful conduct.”

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