A retired Long Island Rail Road worker has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and will have to complete an anger management program after his arrest last year for allegedly phoning in a threat to kill a Long Island congressman, prosecutors confirmed Friday.
Kenneth Gasper, 64, of Lake Ronkonkoma, admitted to the reduced charge in District Court in Hempstead on Tuesday, according to Nassau County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Nicole Turso.
The plea followed his Nov. 10 arrest on a misdemeanor aggravated harassment charge for his alleged threat on the life of U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport).
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at the time of Gasper’s arrest that the defendant allegedly made the threat because of Garbarino’s vote in favor of an infrastructure bill.
Garbarino was one of 13 House Republicans to vote for the Democratic-led $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. Former President Donald Trump criticized those Republicans and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called them traitors while tweeting out their names.
Gasper pleaded guilty in front of District Court Judge Valerie Alexander, who plans to sentence him Jan. 31 to a one-year conditional discharge period that will include his participation in a 12-week anger management program, prosecutors said.
A conditional discharge means a defendant doesn’t face any other consequences if he or she adheres to certain conditions and doesn't get into any more legal trouble during a specified period.
Prosecutors said the conviction for disorderly conduct — a violation and not a crime — will stay on Gasper’s record.
A court complaint stated Gasper called Garbarino’s Massapequa Park office Nov. 8 and told a staffer he was unhappy with the congressman’s vote on the infrastructure matter.
Gasper continually cursed and called Garbarino a "RINO" — or Republican In Name Only — according to police. Gasper also allegedly told the staffer: "If I see that [expletive] in the street I’m going to kill him!"
In November, a different judge signed protective orders for Garbarino and his staffer that prohibited Gasper, a registered Republican, from contacting them before ordering Gasper to get a mental health exam and releasing him on his own recognizance.
Ryder said after the alleged threat that police would step up patrols around Garbarino’s local office, but also said police found no weapons in Gasper’s residence and that the defendant had expressed remorse.
On Friday, Gasper’s attorney, John Ray, also said his client was remorseful.
"I think the result is proper. It's just, given the circumstances of the case," the Miller Place lawyer added.
He previously had said Gasper was "an ordinary American" who hadn't threatened Garbarino but had "conveyed his chagrin to an unseasoned telephone aide" after the congressman's vote.
Garbarino’s staff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.