PENSACOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — A man who said he wanted to bury Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Pensacola) in a shallow grave was sentenced to six months of house arrest and probation, federal officials said Thursday.
Eugene Huelsman, 59, of Thousand Oaks, California, was sentenced to six months of home confinement on one count of transmission of a threat in interstate commerce.
“The free exercise of speech is central to our democracy,” Jason R. Coody, a United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said. “However, the communication of threats of physical violence, in this case by an individual who had previously made and been investigated for similar threats of violence, is clearly unlawful.”
At the hearing, Huelsman was sentenced for threats he made on January 9, 2021, during a phone call to Gaetz’s congressional district office in Pensacola, Florida.
“When no one answered the call, Huelsman left a profanity-laced voicemail threatening to kill Congressman Gaetz,” prosecutors wrote. “This included threatening to ‘put a bullet in’ Congressman Gaetz and members of his family. Huelsman also threatened that he was ‘coming for the Congressman,’ and that he hoped the Congressman would ‘die in a shallow grave.'”
The United States Capitol Police were contacted when the threat was made, which triggered security protocols related to the victim. The investigation revealed this was not the first time Huelsman made threats involving political figures. Huelsman had previously been investigated by the United States Secret Service for threatening a member of former President Donald Trump’s family on social media.
“Words matter,” said Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, “And this sentencing should serve as a warning. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but when you harass, intimidate, and threaten violence against others, it’s a federal crime that will not be tolerated. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will work to hold you accountable.”
Huelsman’s home confinement will be followed by five years probation and a $10,000 fine.