Lawrence Mulqueen of Nanuet hit with federal charges in alleged plot to kill Obama, Cuomo
A Nanuet man accused of making online threats against President Barack Obama, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other elected officials on his Facebook page was brought up on federal charges Monday, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Lawrence Mulqueen, 49, was indicted Monday by a Rockland County grand jury on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He is scheduled to appear in White Plains federal court Tuesday to answer a charge of threatening to kill federal officials and another charge of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the federal charges.
"As alleged, Lawrence Mulqueen maliciously abused the power and reach of Facebook to call for murder -- making bloody, incendiary death threats against federally elected officials and others," said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. "The Internet is a forum for free expression, but it does not give anyone carte blanche to break the law."
Mulqueen was arrested Wednesday after Clarkstown police received a call from his landlord, a 63-year-old woman who told them her tenant had been treating her in a harassing manner, Clarkstown police said.
The FBI was called and a search warrant obtained based on statements Mulqueen made after his arrest, police said.
When investigators searched his home, they found rifles, bayonets, ammunition, body armor, a sword and a knuckle knife, said Clarkstown police Sgt. Glenn Cummings. The weapons were illegal because the suspect had multiple felony DWI convictions, according to police.
Mulqueen had posted threats on his Facebook page that he wanted dead all Obama supporters, including Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, calling them "traitor scum" and declaring "death to them all," police said.
Other elected officials and community leaders whom police said Mulqueen threatened included U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Mulqueen was being held Monday at Rockland County Jail without bail. It wasn't clear whether Mulqueen had legal representation.
"In our fast-paced world of status updates and tweets, behavior of this type must be treated seriously and investigated promptly to ensure that all threats or indications of potential violence are mitigated and do not escalate," said Thomas Zugibe, the Rockland County district attorney.