The San Francisco man accused of making threats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was charged in federal court Thursday.
Greg Giusti was charged with making obscene, threatening or harassing phone calls to a member of Congress. He cried as the charges were read, looked disheveled and wore a T-shirt and khakis, the Associated Press reported.
The magistrate ordered the U.S. Attorney's Office to interview Giusti to see if he is mentally competent enough to be released to a halfway house, or if he should continue to be detained. He could be sentenced to prison for two years, fined $250,000 and face a year supervised release if he's convicted.
Federal agents arrested Greg Giusti, 48, at his home in the Tenderloin Wednesday. Giusti allegedly made dozens of calls to Pelosi's office and to her husband's business because of her support for health care reform.
FBI agents tracked him down through his former church, Hamilton Square Baptist in San Francisco.
Leaders at the church say Giusti harrassed the church with thousands of hang up calls and phone messages for years after he was asked to leave the church in 2005. People who know Giusti say he wasn't a very friendly guy.
One of Giusti's neighbors, Robert Behmer, told NBC Bay Area that when he tried to talk to Giusti, "it was more of an argument than a talk. He would get upset easily and had a hot temper."
"I've had it out with him in the past and he scared me." Another neighbor, Rose Riggs, said. "I was definitely afraid of him."
Church attorney John Jones said Giusti confronted church members and acted out in a menacing manner. He says Giusti is sophisticated with electronic equipment and believes he tried to disguise dozens of calls to Pelosi by routing them through the phone number of a church custodian. When agents questioned the custodian,he was able to identify Giusti's voice, ultimately leading to the arrest.
Court records show in 2004, Giusti was convicted of making a death threat against a train conductor and in 1992, he was convicted for petty theft and perjury.