A 72-year-old Florida man (and likely Trump supporter!) has been arrested after allegedly making criminal threats against Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell and his family.
Michael Shapiro, 72, of Greenacres, Florida was arrested Wednesday morning by federal authorities and brought up on charges of making criminal threats against a government official. According to a Justice Department release, Shapiro called a U.S. Congressperson at their Washington, D.C. office and left five voicemail messages on December 19, 2023.
These messages included one in which Shapiro allegedly said "I'm going to come after you and kill you," and another in which he said he would "come and kill your children."
The calls were apparently easily traceable to Shapiro's home in Greenacres, which is in Palm Beach County.
The congressperson is not named in the release, but CNN reported via the federal complaint that the threats were made to the office of East Bay Representative Eric Swalwell. And the complaint also details that Shapiro called Swalwell a "greaseball" and a "Chinese spy," and that the messages were "expletive-filled."
A message also included the name "Fang Fang," in an apparent reference to the Chinese "honey trap" spy also known as Christine Fang who infiltrated Bay Area politics for a time in the last decade, including doing fundraising work for Swalwell. While Fang actually had sexual relationships with multiple Midwestern mayors, according to the FBI, and volunteered for South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna, it's Swalwell who has been most associated with the scandal — perhaps because he has been such an outspoken critic of Trump and Republicans.
At the time the story came out, Swalwell said through a spokesperson that he had not seen Fang in over six years, and had already provided information about her to the FBI years ago.
The FBI said it believed Fang was part of a "long-game" operation by Chinese intelligence to exert influence in U.S. politics where it could, and there was a report that Fang had appeared at events supporting late SF Mayor Ed Lee as well.
Swalwell, you may recall, was briefly a Democratic candidate for president in 2019, but he bowed out of the race over a year before the revelations about Fang were made public.
Swalwell issued a statement following Shapiro's arrest saying, "There is no place in America for threats of political violence. We must always resolve our differences at the ballot box. While I will continue to protect my family and staff these continued threats will never stop me from representing my constituents."
On Xitter, Swalwell made the direct link between Shapiro and Trump, saying, "MAGA Republicans have chosen violence over voting and this is what it looks like. But I’m not going away and neither should you."
Shapiro apparently has some history of making threats, and he pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 for making threats against someone else — possibly another figure in government, since it was federal court.
According to CNN, Shapiro was "found to be indigent" during his court appearance Wednesday, and a public defender was assigned to his case.
Top image: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) departs from the U.S. Capitol Building on September 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. Ahead of starting a six week recess to campaign for midterms, the House of Representatives held two final votes, including one for the continuing resolution to fund the federal government until December 16th. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)