The Pennsylvania father and son who have been threaten Sarah Palin and her family entered not guilty pleas Wednesday to federal charges of harassing the former Alaska governor's attorneys by telephone. Craig Christy, age 47, and his 19-year-old son Shawn entered their pleas before a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Anchorage:
The Christys, of McAdoo, Pa., face felony charges of placing harassing interstate telephone calls to the former Alaska governor's attorneys and employees of the law firm's offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has been granted state restraining orders against the men.A jury trial for both men, who were assigned court-appointed attorneys, has been set for Nov. 21, and a hearing to determine whether they will be granted bail will be held Monday. Each of the Christy men faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Christys have been 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.
Neither Tiemessen nor Palin attended the hearing.
"The tone of the messages was putting the staff on edge because they have been threatened by the Christys," the indictment says. "They repeatedly say they are coming to Alaska. Tiemessen's family also has been threatened and harassed telephonically."
The indictment did not elaborate on the nature of threats against Palin. The document says 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 last month following the indictment. They have since been held without bail.