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An Illinois man left invective-filled voicemails for four U.S. House members last year that included death threats to Democrats and former Gov. Chris Christie, federal prosecutors allege.

Louis Capriotti, 45, of Chicago Heights, warned that he and others would surround the White House the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, called Democrats "gun grabbing ... terrorists" and told one House member to "choke in hell," prosecutors said. Capriotti was arrested near his home Tuesday morning and charged with transmitting a threat, prosecutors said.

In his voicemail to a New Jersey representative, prosecutors allege Capriotti said he wanted to "put one right in" Christie's "dome." Christie, a formerly staunch supporter of Donald Trump who has since criticized the president for not conceding his loss to Biden, is not mentioned by name in the charging document released Tuesday, but the former governor confirmed he was the target of the threat.

"Law enforcement kept me and my family appropriately aware of the threat and we are relieved that Mr. Capriotti is now in custody," Christie said in a statement.

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Capriotti's arrest comes nearly a week after a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., turned into a deadly riot, with Trump’s supporters ransacking the inside of the U.S. Capitol the day Congress was scheduled to certify Biden's win. Since the insurrection, which led to the death of a police officer and one of the rioters, federal and local authorities have arrested dozens of the rioters.

Trump’s critics allege the president and his supporters have fomented the rage directed at Biden and other Democrats, citing Trump’s repeated false claims that his loss to Biden was the result of massive voter fraud. House Democrats plan to impeach Trump on Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection.”

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Capriotti has a history of making threatening phone calls to members of Congress, prosecutors allege. The FBI interviewed him about them in 2017 and again in February 2020, when he told agents he was "just ***ing with" members of Congress and "didn't mean any ill will," according to the charging document.

The calls continued, prosecutors said, to unnamed House members from New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. In a Dec. 29 voicemail to the New Jersey representative, Capriotti identified himself as a U.S. Marine and said if people "think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that ****ing White House on January 20th, they’re sadly ***ing mistaken.”

That's the voicemail that included the threat to Christie. 

Capriotti faces up to five years in prison.

Staff Writer Dustin Racioppi contributed to this article

Terrence T. McDonald is a reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: mcdonaldt@northjersey.com 

Twitter: @terrencemcd 

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