Tennessee man charged with threatening Ohio congressman amid health care debate

By Thomas J. Sheeran, AP
Friday, October 1, 2010

Tenn. man charged with threat to Ohio congressman

CLEVELAND — A Tennessee man has been charged with threatening to burn down the home of an Ohio congressman during the health care debate.

Prosecutors in Ohio say 40-year-old James Schmidlin, of Cleveland, Tenn., was charged with making an arson threat by phone against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Boccieri (boh-CHEHR’-ee). The federal indictment was unsealed Friday in Cleveland, Ohio.

The charges say the threatening call was made around March 4 amid the congressional debate on health care. Boccieri was one of eight Democrats who switched positions and voted for the president’s proposal.

At a Friday court hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., a magistrate judge agreed to release Schmidlin on bond.

Schmidlin did not enter a plea. His attorney, Anthony Martinez, labeled the call a “stupid, dumb mistake.”

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