An Idaho man charged with making harassing phone calls to the offices of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Rep. Butch Otter (R-Idaho) is facing a jury trial in the Gem State.
Joseph Daniel Hooper was charged by the Coeur d’Alene city attorney’s office with misdemeanor telephone harassment arising from calls he made to Craig’s Coeur d’Alene office, according to a floor statement made last week by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
Hooper is also facing a second, separate misdemeanor action for telephone calls made to Otter’s office.
Last week, the Senate agreed to authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to represent Craig aide Michelle Panos and any other employee asked to provide testimony or documents in the case.
No other details on the case were immediately available, and an employee with the district courthouse in Coeur d’Alene said the file containing the original complaint in the case had been pulled for trial proceedings.
In recent years, prosecutors around the country have vigorously pursued cases against individuals making harassing and or threatening phone calls to Members of Congress.
Last year, a 59-year-old Wyoming man was convicted of threatening the life of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence. Raymond Howard was required to spend 60 days in jail, serve three years of probation and undergo psychological evaluation. He was also forbidden from contacting Daschle or his staff.
Threatening a constitutional officer is a felony crime, whereas harassing telephone calls are classified as misdemeanors.
In 2000, an Albuquerque man was sentenced to 46 months in custody and three years of supervised probation for threatening now-deceased Rep. Steve Schiff (R-N.M.) and members of his staff.