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Man sentenced to probation for threats made to Indiana congressman

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana man accused of intimidating and harassing GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Banks and his family earlier this year was sentenced to probation Friday, according to court records.

Aaron L. Thompson, of Fort Wayne, was charged with felony intimidation with the threat to commit a forcible felony and misdemeanor harassment by means of a telephone call. He was sentenced to nearly three years of probation by an Allen County judge after entering a plea deal, records show.

Thompson’s attorney, Bart Arnold, told The Associated Press, “He is very sorry for what happened and is grateful for the grace shown to him by the the Banks family.”

According to a report by television station WPTA, Thompson was accused of calling Banks’s office in April and leaving threatening messages toward the congressman and his family. Thompson told police he was intoxicated and disagreed with Banks’ political views, according to the report.

“Here’s the choice. Your daughters grow up without their dad or you grow old without your daughters,” Thompson allegedly said, according to the report. “Boom, boom you pick”

Thompson also told Banks he hoped the congressman died in a car crash or got “his brains blown out,” WPTA reported.

Banks, who represents Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, said in a statement that the threats “significantly impacted” his family.

“My family’s safety is my number one priority and threats of violence are not something I take lightly,” Banks said.

He also thanked Allen County prosecutors, Indiana State Police, U.S. Capitol police and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.

“I appreciate their round-the-clock work to keep our community safe,” he said.

Banks is the frontrunner in the race to fill Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat left open by Sen. Mike Braun, who is not seeking reelection and is running for governor in 2024.

Isabella Volmert, The Associated Press