In a disturbing incident, a 72-year-old Florida man, Michael Shapiro, has been charged with making death threats against Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, and his children. The federal charges allege that Shapiro left chilling voicemails at Swalwell’s Washington office on December 19, 2023, making explicit threats and referencing Swalwell’s past association with a suspected Chinese spy, Fang Fang.
Threatening Voicemails and Allegations
According to court records, Shapiro reportedly left five voicemails, where he referred to Swalwell using derogatory language and threatened violence against him and his children. The calls explicitly mentioned a suspected Chinese spy, Christine Fang, and made references to Swalwell’s past connection with her. The voicemails included phrases like “come after,” “kill,” and derogatory terms directed at Swalwell.
Connections to Chinese Spy Allegations
Swalwell had faced scrutiny over his past association with Christine Fang, who was accused of having ties to Chinese intelligence. The calls from Shapiro repeatedly mentioned the word “Fang” and alluded to Swalwell’s alleged involvement with the suspected spy. Although Swalwell was not named in the court documents, he confirmed that he and his family were the targets of the threats.
Previous Investigations and Loss of Committee Seat
The House Ethics Committee had conducted a two-year probe into the allegations of Fang’s ties to Swalwell. The investigation concluded without accusing Swalwell of wrongdoing, but he did confirm being targeted by a Chinese intelligence operative. As a result, Swalwell lost his seat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Repeat Offender Faces Federal Charges
Michael Shapiro had previously pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening another member of Congress through voicemails in 2019. This recent incident marks a repeat offense for Shapiro, who now faces federal charges for making threats against Swalwell and his family.
Swalwell’s Response and Commitment
In response to the threats, Swalwell took to social media, stating that no threat would deter him from representing his constituents. He emphasized the need to address differences through democratic means and condemned political violence. Swalwell, who has been vocal about the challenges faced by lawmakers, affirmed his commitment to protecting his family and staff despite the ongoing threats.
The case involving Michael Shapiro highlights the concerning trend of political violence and threats against elected officials. As legal proceedings unfold, it brings attention to the broader issue of security for public figures and the importance of addressing political differences through peaceful means.