By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org
Threatening to decapitate a congresswoman has landed a former Hawaii resident in federal prison.
Aniruddha Sherbow, 44, was sentenced Monday to 33 months in federal prison after threatening to “beat” and “decapitate” U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.
The threats began in 2011 when Gabbard was a member of the Honolulu City Council and continued after her 2012 election to Congress, even though Sherbow in 2011 was ordered to stay way from Gabbard for three years.
The threats, which Sherbow communicated directly to Gabbard as well as to Watchdog.org and other media, escalated into 2013.
On Aug. 1, 2013, when Gabbard was in Washington, D.C., court records show Sherbow left Gabbard an expletive-laced voicemail calling her a “stupid little bitch.” He said he planned to find the congresswoman, beat her and kill her.
On Aug. 3, 2013, Sherbow sent an email to the FBI and the media, including Watchdog.org, with the headline “Cutting Off Tulsi Gabbard’s Head.”
“I, Aniruddha Sherbow, with the Divine as my witness, do hereby solemnly vow to find Tulsi Gabbard, wheresoever she may be, and to sever her head from her body,” the email read.
Sherbow’s father, Paul Sherbow, told investigators he also received the Aug. 3 email and confirmed his son sent it, court records show.
A federal arrest warrant was issued in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after Sherbow made those threats.
Saying he was a philosophy major and writer, Sherbow corresponded exclusively with Watchdog.org in a series of emails, saying Gabbard was “The Prima Donna” who made him feel “insignificant.”
He goes by the name “Sphinx the writer” and said when he lived in Hawaii, he offered to volunteer to write news releases and other correspondences Gabbard’s council office.
Sherbow said he felt compelled to contact Gabbard initially because he “was born into the same obscure Western-Hindu tradition as Tulsi, the Hare Krishna Movement, also known as the Brahma Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya.”
He has been in federal custody since his August 2013 arrest in Tijuana, Mexico, by the Policia Estatal Preventiva and the Baja California State Police Fugitive Unit, which worked in cooperation with the FBI, Capitol Police, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney.
Sherbow pleaded no contest to two charges in February related to transmission of threats.
Once released from prison, Sherbow will be placed on three years of supervised release and is barred from having any contact with Gabbard, according to a court agreement.
Sherbow also must reimburse the government $538,282 for security expenses incurred as a result of his threats and get a mental health evaluation and treatment, Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled.
Gabbard, 33, has extensive military experience, including two tours of combat duty in the Middle East. She is a captain in the Hawaii National Guard’s 29th Brigade Combat Team. Her election to Congress in 2012 was notable because she was the first Hindu and first woman of Samoan ancestry to serve in Congress. Gabbard has not commented on this case.