Bartlesville man pleads guilty to stalking, threatening Hern, wife

The Oklahoman
The Oklahoman

A Bartlesville man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to cyberstalking and threatening to kidnap and assault U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern and his wife.

Keith Charles Eisenberger, 39, made “concerning statements” dating back to November 2018, when Hern won his first term in the 1st Congressional District, with the threats escalating on social media and during visits to Hern’s offices in Tulsa and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Northern District of Oklahoma.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate online threats of violence meant to intimidate elected officials or members of our community,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said. “Keith Eisenberger now understands there are legal repercussions to committing these criminal acts."

Stipulations in the plea agreement call for three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. A judge will decide whether or not to accept the plea.

Eisenberger appeared in U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern's Washington, D.C., office

Johnson’s office filed a sealed complaint against Eisenberger in May. The docket in the case shows Eisenberger notified the court last month of his intent to plead guilty. The FBI investigated the case.

“While the First Amendment gives us the right to express our own opinions, it does not protect those who cross the line of making violent criminal threats,” said Edward J. Gray, the FBI Oklahoma City special agent in charge. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure elected officials can perform the duties of their office safely.”

According to the U.S. attorney’s office:

∎ Eisenberger showed up at Hern’s office in Washington, D.C., in January 2019 “yelling and demanding to see Hern.” He told U.S. Capitol Police special agents that he believed Hern was appointed to the seat without Eisenberger being considered for it and that he wouldn’t return to Oklahoma until Hern resigned;

∎ Eisenberger made a social media post in November 2020, when Hern was re-elected, suggesting that Hern and the state of Oklahoma deserved to be “federally executed” and that resignation, death or expulsion of Hern was acceptable;

∎ In a video posted on social media last October, Eisenberger said he was going to assault Hern;

∎ In a social media post in May, Eisenberger said he hoped to kidnap Hern and his wife.

Eisenberger pleads guilty to three counts related to threats against U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern and his wife

Eisenberger pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tulsa to three counts; cyberstalking; threatening to kidnap and assault a member of Congress; and threatening to kidnap and assault the spouse of a member of Congress.

A spokesperson for Hern, R-Tulsa, did not provide a comment before deadline on Wednesday about the case.

Last week in Colorado, federal grand jury indictments were filed against a man for allegedly threatening three members of Congress, identified only by their initials. Late last month, a Seattle man was charged with felony stalking after threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, of Washington.

In 2017, a gunman opened fire on a group of House members playing baseball in Alexandria, Virginia, severely wounding Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

The House sergeant-at-arms last month announced that members could receive up to $10,000 to upgrade security at their homes.

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