A marijuana industry activist pleaded guilty Wednesday to threatening to inflict "pain in every way" on a member of Congress shortly after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In U.S. District Court, via Zoom, Jason Robert Karimi, 32, admitted to calling a U.S. Representative from California, whose name is redacted from documents, from his cellphone in St. Paul and leaving a voice mail saying: "I want to see you as scared as possible, terrified and [defecating] your pants."
"We're coming for ya," Karimi continued. "We're going to [expletive] you up and ... we're going to end all political power you have [and] make it so you can't even walk in anything but a wheelchair." Karimi said the person's house had been vandalized but that "wasn't far enough."
The call came days after news reports revealing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's house in San Francisco had been vandalized. Pelosi's office didn't respond to requests for comment.
Karimi pleaded guilty to one felony count of sending an interstate communication containing a threat. As part of a plea deal, federal prosecutors recommended he serve 10-16 months in prison and up to $40,000 in fines instead of the maximum 5 years in prison and $450,000.
In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp read the voice mail aloud.
"Did you leave that message knowing it would cause fear?" asked Steinkamp.
"Yes," said Karimi.
Karimi has actively blogged for a website that promotes marijuana policy in Iowa called "WeedPress," and he's appeared on local television stations there commenting on the industry. At a hearing in February via Zoom, Karimi appeared before the judge wearing a Rastafarian head garb and called himself "reverend."
He told the FBI agent he aspired to lobby the U.S. government on marijuana. He planned to move to South Dakota, and he's been temporarily living with a friend in St. Paul.
He said he frequently uses the tactic of "political threatening" to get noticed, according to court documents. He told the FBI agent he once expressed his intentions to a lawyer to "rip his son's guts out" and feed them to the son.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036