Lawyer: Man accused of threats to kill senators has dementia

NEW YORK (AP) — A defense lawyer says a man charged with threatening to kill U.S. senators over Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation has dementia and is “an angry, sick old man” who isn’t dangerous.

Ronald DeRisi is being held without bail after his arraignment Friday. Prosecutors say the 74-year-old left a series of voicemails threatening two senators for supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The lawmakers haven’t been publicly identified.

DeRisi’s lawyer, Peter Brill, says his client’s brain-atrophying condition has caused behavior problems and he’s “not in entire control of his faculties.” Brill says DeRisi is “belligerent,” but not violent, and poses no physical threat to anyone.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Justina Geraci says DeRisi used a pre-paid cellphone and fake name to mask his identity. Geraci says that shows “a level of criminal intent.”

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