Watch CBS News

Kenneth Gasper Agrees To Plea Deal After Being Accused Of Threatening To Kill Long Island Rep. Andrew Garbarino

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A retiree who admitted his role in an alleged death threat against his congressman was called to court Monday and for the first time spoke publicly about what prompted his arrest in the disturbing politically charged case.

The 64-year-old retired Long Island Rail Road worker huddled with his attorney prior to going before a judge to show proof he is undergoing anger management classes following a guilty plea this month for allegedly phoning in a threat to kill Long Island Congressman Andrew Garbarino, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

When asked by the judge if he was denying making death threats against the congressman, accused Kenneth Gasper said, "Absolutely."

"We have received death threats. A specific person called the office and said they were going to kill me," Garbarino told CBS2 during a phone interview.

Back in November, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder announced that the accused "used some profanity and made a threat: 'If I see that [expletive] in the street I am going to kill him."

Gasper lives in Lake Ronkonkoma and flies his flag for former President Donald Trump.

John Ray, Gasper's attorney, said his client made the calls because he was upset.

"Mr. Gasper had voted for this congressman. He was disturbed that he had switched sides, and called to let him know," Ray said.

Gasper was furious over the infrastructure bill. Garbarino was one of 13 House Republicans to back it. Trump referred to the 13 as traitors and "RINOs" -- Republicans in name only.

Garbarino replaced Peter King, who retired from Congress.

"To me, this is dangerous on both sides. The fact that you disagree with someone, threaten their life, threaten to hurt them, threaten their family, and we see it going on much too much. Listen, I support Andrew Garbarino. I think he cast the right vote," King said.

"To threaten somebody doing infrastructure. We need bridges. It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or Republican," district voter Lucille Floram said.

As part of his plea to a reduced charge, Gasper must undergo a 12-week anger management program and stay out of legal trouble for the next year.

"He needs more than anger management if he is going to threaten somebody's life," voter Gail Klubnick said.

When asked if he regretted making the phone call, Gasper said, "I wish I didn't do it."

Voters in the district said they want less extremist rhetoric behavior and more meeting in the middle, McLogan reported.

The charges were reduced from aggravated harassment because Gasper has no priors and expressed remorse, McLogan reported.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.