A federal judge sentenced Robert Eric Stahlnecker, 48, a Twentynine Palms man to 12 months and one day in federal prison for making harassing telephone calls to government offices and for threatening to injure congressional staffers and an intern who answered the calls. At a two-day trial in February, a federal jury found Stahlnecker guilty of one count of making threats by interstate commerce and five counts of anonymous telecommunications harassment. The jury acquitted him of two counts of threatening federal employees. The evidence at trial showed that, on September 26, 2019, Stahlnecker made eight telephone calls within a seven-minute span to the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. During the calls, Stahlnecker berated the intern who answered the call, insulted the intern by using vulgar language and, finally, threatened to come to the senator's office to kill her.Between September and November 2019, Stahlnecker made multiple abusive telephone calls to staff members and interns of multiple members of Congress. Stahlnecker made more than 10,000 calls to government agencies and elected officials between January and November of last year, according to court documents. More than half of defendant's telephone calls in 2019 were to the Veterans Affairs complaint line (3,600 calls) and the two United States senators from California (2,500 calls), court papers state. Stahlnecker has been in federal custody since his arrest in this case in December 2019.
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