A Texas woman has been charged with threatening to kill the federal judge presiding over a dispute between former President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice about records seized in an FBI raid of Trump’s home last month.
An FBI special agent said Tiffani Shea Gish of Houston left three threatening voicemails on the chamber telephone of Judge Aileen Cannon of U.S. District Court in southern Florida, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
Identifying herself as the fictional Russian agent Evelyn Salt, Gish claimed to be “in charge of nuclear” for the government, a federal agent and “Trump’s hitman” who had a “license to kill,” according to transcribed excerpts of the calls included in the complaint.
Gish’s pseudonym is the same name as the protagonist played by Angelina Jolie in the 2010 action film “Salt.”
A detailed property inventory of documents and other items seized from former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen after the document was released to the public by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, Florida, September 2, 2022.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Trump is “marked for assassination and so are you,” Gish said in the expletive-filled messages, the complaint showed. “You’re full of s—, and I’m going to f—ing have you shot myself. I’ve already ordered snipers and a bomb to your f—ing house,” Gish allegedly said in the voicemails, all of which were made on Sept. 1.
When agents came to her residence on Sept. 4, Gish would initially only speak through a balcony window, but eventually invited the agents in and spoke with them for about 45 minutes, the complaint said. Gish in that interview said she left the voicemails from her cellphone, and also confirmed that a Facebook account with posts echoing the language of the voicemails belonged to her, according to the complaint.
Gish was charged in U.S. District Court in Houston with one count of influencing a federal official by threat and one count of interstate communications with a threat to kidnap or injure.
Magistrate Judge Peter Bray on Friday ordered Gish detained pending trial, saying she “appears to suffer from severe mental impairments with symptoms including paranoia and delusions.”
A federal prosecutor had asked for a competency examination of Gish, writing in a court filing that her “past conduct shows delusional conduct where she claimed to be a CIA agent, a Navy SEAL, an Army Ranger, and someone familiar with nuclear weapons or war, all while intermixing threats to public officials such as Former President Donald Trump or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
In March, a U.S. Secret Service agent called Gish’s mother, who “claimed her daughter suffered from severe Bi-Polar disorder and is borderline schizophrenic,” according to the court filing.
“Although she did not feel that Gish would physically harm the Former President, she was still afraid of her daughter, refusing to see her in person for fear she would be attacked,” the federal prosecutor wrote.
A competency hearing is set for Tuesday. Attorneys for Gish did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Gish left the voicemails for Cannon, an appointee of Trump, as the former president’s lawyers and the DOJ argued about whether the judge should appoint a special master to review the thousands of government records seized last month from Trump’s Florida home Mar-a-Lago. That court-appointed independent third party would examine the seized records, many of which bore high-level classification markings, for personal items and possibly privileged material.
Cannon last week authorized the appointment of a special master, notching a win for Trump. The DOJ, which argued a special master is unnecessary and could harm the government’s national security interests, is appealing Cannon’s ruling. The department also wants Cannon to pause her related order blocking the government from further reviewing documents marked classified that were taken in the raid.
Trump’s lawyers on Monday urged Cannon to reject that request.