Man Sentenced To Prison, Fined For Threatening Representative Maxine Waters Due To Race

Maxine Waters

Brian Michael Gaherty, a resident of Houston, Texas, has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and fined $10,000 for threatening Representative Maxine Waters, a Democratic lawmaker from California.

The sentencing took place on Monday, June 17, 2024, in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, where Judge R. Gary Klausner applied a hate-crime enhancement due to the racial motivation behind the threats.

Gaherty, 61, pleaded guilty in January to a charge of threatening a United States official. According to federal prosecutors, he admitted to making repeated threats to assault and murder Representative Waters through voicemail messages left on her district office phone in Los Angeles County.

These threats occurred in August and November 2022.

The court heard that Gaherty’s messages included explicit threats of violence, profanity, and racist and misogynistic language aimed at Waters.

Despite warnings from authorities to cease his actions in October 2022, Gaherty persisted and left additional threatening voicemails the following month.

During sentencing, Gaherty expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to Representative Waters, who was present in court.

His attorney, Joseph Vinas, attributed the threats to Gaherty’s mental health condition, stemming from his own experiences as a victim of violent crime.

Prosecutors detailed the specific threats made by Gaherty, including references to shooting Waters between the eyes and physically assaulting her.

They also highlighted his warnings about having a group nearby that could harm her, stressing on the seriousness and intent behind his statements.

The case underscores the federal government’s commitment to prosecuting threats against public officials and the application of hate-crime enhancements when motivations based on race or other protected characteristics are involved.