An Ohio bartender with a history of psychiatric illness was indicted on a charge of threatening to murder House Speaker John Boehner, possibly by poisoning his drink at a country club or shooting him, according to court documents.
A grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio on Jan. 7 identified the accused man as Cincinnati resident Michael R. Hoyt, said the records made available Tuesday.
A separate criminal complaint said Hoyt was fired last fall from his job at a country club in West Chester, Ohio, where he served drinks to Boehner, who is a member. The complaint says Hoyt told a police officer that before leaving the country club, he “did not have time to put something in John Boehner’s drink.” Hoyt also told officers that no one checks the drinks he had poured for Boehner, and it would have been easy to slip something in his drink, the complaint said.
Hoyt is currently being held under a court order for mental evaluation and treatment, and U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI believe he “poses a current and ongoing credible threat” to Boehner, the complaint added.
The lawyer listed on court documents as Hoyt’s attorney did not respond to phone calls or email requests for comment Tuesday evening.
No one answered the door Tuesday evening at the address listed for Hoyt on court documents, and the house was dark. Two neighbors couldn’t confirm that Hoyt lived in the house.
The court documents said, “Hoyt told the officer he was Jesus Christ and that he was going to kill Boehner because Boehner was mean to him at the country club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola.”
According to the criminal complaint, Hoyt said he had a loaded Beretta .380 automatic pistol and he was going to shoot Boehner. Hoyt had volunteered to be taken to a psychiatric hospital, and police took his weapon.
The complaint says Hoyt was treated for a previous psychotic episode about two years ago. He was prescribed medication “which he voluntarily stopped taking” about six months ago, it added.
As speaker of the House, Boehner is second in line for the presidency in the event of a vacancy. His congressional district includes part of western Ohio.
A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, said the speaker is “aware of the situation and sincerely thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and the local authorities in Ohio for their efforts.”
The Capitol Police could not be reached Tuesday for immediate comment.
It was not clear why officials waited as long as they did to disclose the charge. The grand jury indictment is dated Jan. 7, but the incident referred to in the papers took place on Oct. 29 of last year, and the complaint itself was filed on Nov. 6.
Espo reported from Washington, D.C. Associated Press writer Jennifer Smola in Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report.
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