SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A San Francisco man accused of making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday morning at a detention hearing. The affidavit accompanying the criminal charge details a range of abusive and obscene calls, including the threat,”When you go back to California, you won’t have a home to go back to.”
The 48-year-old defendant, Gregory Lee Giusti, made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman on Thursday to hear the charge against him and to declare his defense counsel, who is Elizabeth Falk wth the Federal Public Defender’s office.
Giusti was charged with one count of making threatening and harassing phone calls, under Title 47 of the U.S. Code section 223. The penalty for a violation is up to two years imprisonment.
According to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Bryan Smith, House Speaker Pelosi received “at least 48 telephone calls” to her Washington, D.C. home, one of her Bay Area home, her San Francisco office and her husband’s office.
The calls were made through an internet phone system called Magic Jack that was traced back to Giusti’s computer. In a call to Pelosi’s San Francisco office, according to the affidvit, Giusti bragged that he could not be found, saying, “If you’re trying to trace it, have fun.”
Giusti left Pelosi a flood messages that “included abusive, harassing and obscene language,” Smith’s affidavit said. “Nancy Pelosi told interviewing agents that on one occasion, she answered the Washington D.C. residence telephone and the caller used extremely vulgar and crude language and threatened her, stating ‘when you go back to California you won’t have a home to go back to.'”
Giusti also spoke with an employee at Pelosi’s office in San Francisco, saying, “Yeah, tell her I’ll call her at home, I got her home number.”
Giusti, who was apparently enraged by Pelosi’s support for health care reform, admitted he had made the calls, telling a federal agent, “I called Mrs. Pelosi about a half dozen times, calling her a witch and said I did not like her pushing the health care bill down the peoples’ throat.”
According to the affidavit, Giusti initially denied calling Pelosi, but then said, “Okay, I’ve heard enough,” after two calls were played for him by a federal agent during an interview on April 1. He said he had found Pelosi’s phone number “either in the phone book or over the Internet,” and confessed that he had used the name “Robert W,’ the name of a friend who had died, when he called Pelosi’s office.
Giusti reportedly has a history of making harassing phone calls for which he was convicted in 1991, the affidavit says, citing records obtained by the FBI from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
News stories earlier this week described Giusti as tearful and disheveled in his initial appearance before the magistrate, who ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to examine Giusti’s mental state, an issue likely to be revisited at Monday’s scheduled detention hearing.