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Flathead-area man pleads guilty after threatening Sen. Jon Tester's life

Sen. Jon Tester
Freddy Monares
Sen. Jon Tester

A Flathead-area man accused of threatening the life of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester pleaded guilty Thursday.

Police arrested Kevin Patrick Smith in February after he was charged with two felony counts of threatening to murder or harm the senator. Smith reportedly made numerous threatening calls to Tester’s Kalispell office in early 2023.

Smith initially pleaded not guilty to both counts but changed his plea Thursday in a hearing as part of a plea deal reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana. Prosecutors agreed to drop one of the counts and not to prosecute Smith for possessing an unregistered silencer found in his home during the investigation. The plea agreement was filed in late March.

According to a federal indictment, Smith left voicemails at Tester’s office stating he “would love to destroy” the senator. In the hearing Thursday, Smith said the reason behind the threats was due to disagreement with Tester’s political decisions.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Smith will remain in federal custody until his sentencing hearing in August.

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