Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — A 45-year-old San Pedro man was sentenced July 16 to three years of probation for threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, over comments she made about President Donald Trump.
Anthony Scott Lloyd was additionally ordered to serve six months of home detention and complete 100 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson.
The judge also ordered Lloyd not to have any contact with Waters— by any means.
“Public officials have to feel safe and secure in making decisions … and cannot be [made to] feel insecure in their judgments,” Wilson said from the bench.
Wilson’s sentence was immediately criticized by a local civil rights activist. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, called the sentence a slap on the hands.
The sentence “sends the dangerous message that death threats against a congressperson, a federal official, will not be taken seriously,” Hutchinson said. “The severity of the crime in light of other death threats against Waters demand jail time for Lloyd and in any other case where a congressperson is threatened with death.”
“This is both a hate crime and a felony crime to threaten a federal official,” he added.
Lloyd pleaded guilty in April to a single federal count of threatening a United States official. The charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years behind bars, but both prosecution and defense agreed that a probationary sentence was appropriate.
In a letter filed with the court prior to sentencing, Waters said that while she appreciates that Lloyd pleaded guilty and expressed remorse, a lenient sentence would “only embolden others to engage in similar conduct.”
Lloyd should “be held accountable for his actions in a manner extending beyond probation,” the congresswoman wrote.
Lloyd made the threat during a phone call to Waters’ Capitol Hill office. He had become angered while listening to talk radio last Oct. 22, when he heard a report in which Waters made disparaging comments about Trump, according to court papers.
“If you continue to make threats toward the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, ’cause we’ll kill you,” Lloyd said in a voicemail.
He also used a racial slur — the N-word — to refer to Waters and an anti-gay slur in the message, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake Nare, who read Lloyd’s voicemail message to the court during the April guilty plea hearing in downtown Los Angeles.
After the message was received, one of Waters’ staff members contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, which notified the FBI.
An FBI agent interviewed Lloyd, who admitted leaving the voicemail but swore he had no intent to actually harm Waters.
Lloyd, who lives with his grandmother, identified himself as a “pro-president supporter” during the interview, court papers show.
In court, Lloyd apologized to Waters for his actions, saying that he “impulsively made that phone call. What I did has no place in our society.”
Waters has been one of Trump’s most forceful critics on Capitol Hill. For his part, Trump has referred to her several times as a “low-I.Q. individual.”
Waters said in a statement in November that her district is “very diverse, and though we don’t always agree, my constituents would never threaten me. We are collectively focused on the progress, safety and security of our communities.”
Lloyd’s attorney, Jerod Gunsberg, told the court that his client’s racist tirade arose from watching news coverage containing comments about the president made by Waters during a political rally. Lloyd, the attorney said, “was positive she was calling for the assassination” of Trump.
Gunsberg wrote in court papers that Lloyd’s behavior was an isolated incident stemming from “untreated mental illness and substance abuse.” The attorney told the judge that Lloyd was in treatment for drug addiction and had no intention of harming the congresswoman.
“He is committed to sobriety,” Gunsberg told the court.