Guilty plea planned in Palin lawyer harassment

AP News
Posted: Nov 22, 2011 2:57 AM
Guilty plea planned in Palin lawyer harassment

A 20-year-old Pennsylvania man has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of making harassing phone calls in a case involving Sarah Palin's lawyers.

Shawn Christy filed notice Monday in U.S. District Court that he intends to plead guilty in an expected plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Christy plans to plead guilty and be sentenced Dec. 1, according to the document filed by Mary Geddes, assistant federal defender.

Federal prosecutors were not immediately reachable by phone late Monday. Earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta-Rae Randall said the harassing telephone calls charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Christy and his father, Craig Christy, both of McAdoo, Pa., face accusations of placing harassing interstate phone calls to the former Alaska governor's lawyers in early August. Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, had been granted state restraining orders against them.

Both men pleaded not guilty in the case in September.

In a motion filed Nov. 10, Geddes requested a one-week delay in the men's scheduled Nov. 21 trial date and added, "the parties are not anticipating that this matter will actually proceed to trial on Nov. 28. The parties anticipate this case will be resolved by agreement."

The Christys were accused of making hundreds of phone calls to the offices of Palin's attorney, John Tiemessen. Some of the calls involved threats against Palin and others, according to an indictment by a federal grand jury in Alaska.

The indictment did not elaborate on the nature of threats against Palin.

The document said the calls included obscenity-laden phone messages, including a death threat to Tiemessen from Craig Christy. In another message, Shawn Christy said he was going to Alaska and would rape one of the attorneys, according to the indictment.

The Christys were arrested in August.

According to the indictment, Craig and Shawn Christy were upset about the restraining orders against them. The six-month orders were issued in May by a state magistrate in Alaska on behalf of Palin, her family and friends.

The restraining order against Shawn Christy _ accused of stalking Palin _ was extended for six months. The restraining order issued against Craig Christy followed accusations he was barraging Palin's parents with antagonizing telephone messages.