New York man who threatened MTG learns his sentence. Is it long enough?

The man behind “crack your skull” threats against Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) was sentenced this week to incredulous reactions: “That’s all!”

After pleading guilty in February to leaving threatening voicemails for the congresswoman in March 2022, 51-year-old Joseph Morelli of Endicott, New York was handed down his sentence Thursday. Despite arguments from the prosecution that Greene wasn’t the only official the man was said to have threatened, Chief U.S. District Judge Brenda K. Sannes limited the incarceration to three months followed by three years of supervised release.

According to The Post-Standard of Syracuse, the judge herself had acknowledged that Morelli had threatened former Judge Joseph J. Cassata in addition to Greene and others while Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick contended the man was “seeking confrontation with an authority figure.”

Within the seven messages left by Morelli, the man had threatened the lawmaker by saying, “I’m gonna have to take your life into my own hands … I’m gonna hurt you. Physically, I’m gonna harm you,” and, “I’m gonna have to show you, to your face, right up front, what violence truly is, and I don’t think you’re gonna like it … I can pay someone 500 bucks to take a baseball bat and crack your skull … You are going to get f*cking physically hurt.”

However, while Southwick argued that the defendant may one day snap and cross the line to act on his threats, Morelli’s attorney Gabrielle DiBella made note that a person could not be punished for crimes they had not committed. She further expressed that bipolar disorder was the “driving force behind his criminal conduct” and that he had been receiving treatment for it.

The New York man was not the only person who had made threats against the Georgia native as, in February, she herself had reported, “I was attacked in a restaurant tonight by an insane [woman] and screamed at by her adult son. They had no respect for the restaurant or the staff or the other people dining or people like me who simply have different political views.”

“They are self righteous, insane, and completely out of control,” Greene went on. “I was sitting at my table, working with my staff, and never even noticed these people until they turned into demons. People used to respect others even if they had different views. But not anymore. Our country is gone.”

Along with the sentence, Sannes deferred a decision related to restitution as the congresswoman had sought over $66,000 due to necessary security increases at her home that included fencing and security cameras.

Word of Morelli’s limited time behind bars struck many as far too lenient when compared to stricter sentences for some believed to have done far less.


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Kevin Haggerty


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