PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Anthony Francis Nero, 48, of Norristown, PA, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of sending threatening communications and cyberstalking before United States District Judge Karen S. Marston.
According to court documents, on January 7, 2021, Nero sent an electronic message over the Internet to the Montgomery County Democratic Party (MCDP) that threatened “random acts of violence” and stated “you should probably beef up security.” On January 20, 2021, MCDP officials discovered that the front window to MCDP’s office, located in Norristown, PA, had been shot through three times by a firearm. In a February 2021 interview with Norristown Police and the FBI, Nero admitted sending the online threat to the MCDP and firing his .45 caliber pistol three times into the MCDP office. Ballistics tests by the Montgomery County Detective Bureau confirmed that two spent rounds recovered from the MCDP’s office were fired by Nero’s .45 caliber pistol. In March 2021, the defendant was arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint. He remains in federal custody.
“In the midst of a politically tumultuous time in our Nation, Anthony Nero sent a threatening communication and then turned those words into a violent act that could have resulted in catastrophic injury, or worse,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “I want to thank our partners in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and all agencies at the federal, state and local levels for their dedicated work on this case.”
“I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in prosecuting this defendant for terroristic threats against the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. There is no place for this kind of criminal behavior in our democracy, and our law enforcement will continue to stand together to make sure that those who act in this way are brought to justice,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
“Threatening violence is bad enough – but then, Anthony Nero carried out his threat and fired multiple gunshots into the MCDP office,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to investigating and holding accountable anyone engaged in such criminal behavior. Nobody should have to fear becoming the target of reckless violence.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Norristown Police Department, Montgomery County Detective Bureau, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vineet Gauri and Josh Davison, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. McLaughlin.
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