Indian-American in Maryland charged with threatening congressman

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A Maryland man who allegedly told a congressman he should be “tortured and skinned alive” was arrested Wednesday on charges of threatening a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to federal officials.

Sidhartha Kumar Mathur, 34, of West Friendship, is accused of delivering the threats over voice mail and in a “webmail” message typed into the congressman’s website.

In the voice mail, he appears to have left behind his actual phone number, a federal criminal complaint said. And when sending in the webmail, he did so in a way that allowed investigators to track an IP address to Mathur’s address, court records state.

The criminal complaint identified the congressman as being from Maryland but did not name which of the eight men it was. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland declined to identify the congressman, citing the office’s general policy of not identifying crime victims.

Federal authorities arrested Mathur and searched his home Wednesday, seizing his phone, computer and other electronics, according to federal authorities. He could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

U.S. Capitol Police began investigating on Dec. 11 after being told about messages left a day before.

At 5:45 p.m., Dec. 10, the congressman’s district office received a voice mail, which according to federal court records, opened with an expletive and then stated: “If you even mess with my vote, I’m going to come and I’ll slit your throat and I’ll kill your family.” The message closed with: “You represent me, I’ll kill you.”

Two minutes earlier, the congressman’s website received a written message. It also began with an expletive, followed by a threat to blow up the man’s office, according to court records. Then this: “I know where you and your family lives. You will be ended. You’re a —— animal that needs to be tortured and skinned alive.”

The criminal complaint against Mathur says he holds an undergraduate degree in public health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. When confronted by federal agents, he acknowledged leaving the voice mail but not the webmail, according to court records.

“After being warned that lying to federal agents was a felony offense,” the criminal complaint states, “Mathur again reaffirmed that he made the telephone threat but did not send the webmail and suggested that his internet network may be insecure.”

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