Missouri man pleads guilty to threatening to lynch two congressmen

·2 min read
A side-by-side image of Rep. Steve Cohen and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
A side-by-side image of Rep. Steve Cohen and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. Left: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite; Right: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite File
  • Kenneth Hubert pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to lynch a Black representative and a Jewish representative.

  • Hubert, from Missouri, faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.

  • Hubert admitted to calling the offices of Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Steve Cohen and threatening the lawmakers in conversations with their staffers.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Missouri man pleaded guilty to threatening to lynch two sitting lawmakers, according to court documents filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Kenneth R. Hubert, 63, threatened to lynch Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, who is Black, after the January 6 Capitol riot. In 2019, Hubert also threatened to lynch Rep. Steve Cohen, a Jewish lawmaker representing Tennessee's 9th district. Both congressional representatives are Democrats.

Prosecutors arrested Hubert in March after the threats to Cleaver, and court filings from Thursday say he pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to assault a US official.

He called Cohen's Washington, DC, office in May 2019, the plea agreement says, and told a staffer that he "has a noose with the Congressman's name on it." Hubert also told the staffer he planned to "put a noose around his neck and drag him behind his pickup truck."

A day after the Capitol riot, Hubert called Cleaver's Independence, Missouri, office and referred to him using a racial slur over the phone with a staffer. "How about a noose around his neck?" Hubert asked on the phone, according to the plea agreement.

Hubert admitted to both calls and threats on January 19, 2021, while in conversation with FBI agents, according to court docs.

"By entering into this plea agreement, the defendant admits that he knowingly committed these offenses, and is, in fact, guilty of these offenses," the plea agreement says.

Hubert told FBI agents he threatened Cohen because "he was offended by a comment Representative Cohen previously made about then-President Donald Trump." And he said he threatened Cleaver because a statement the rep made on the House floor "upset him." There are no further details on the statements either rep made.

It's not clear whether a judge has set a date for Hubert to be sentenced. But each count carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the agreement says.

Neither Cohen nor Cleaver's office immediately responded to Insider's request for comment. The attorney representing Hubert also did not immediately respond to inquiries.

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