The FBI says the suspect accused of making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a 48-year-old San Francisco man who lived in public housing and who was angry about health care reform.
FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler identified the man as Gregory Lee Giusti. He was arrested at his home shortly after noon Wednesday.
Rose Riggs, a neighbor of Giusti in the city's Tenderloin district, said she saw two plainclothes and two uniformed officers take him away in zip-tie cuffs. Riggs said Giusti was known for engaging in heated political debates.
"He was not one of my favorite people. He had a real attitude problem," she said.
Just yesterday while talking to reporters following an appearance at the Commonwealth Club, Pelosi said "people have been active in expressing their disagreement." Sometimes those expressions have risen "to the level of threats or violence," she said, explaining that she was not allowed to comment on her own situation.
Several federal officials say the man made dozens of calls to Pelosi's homes in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as well as to her husband's business office.
He reportedly reciting her home address and said if she wanted to see it again, she would not support the health care overhaul bill that was recently enacted. One official said the man is believed to have spoken directly with Pelosi at least once.
Pelosi Brendan Daly released the following statement about the case:
"After an investigation into threats made against Speaker Pelosi, an arrest has been made in San Francisco. The Speaker thanks the FBI, the Capitol Hill Police, House Sergeant at Arms, and other law enforcement officials for their professionalism in this matter. She will have no further comment at this time."
Giusti has been in trouble previously for making threats. In 2004, he pleaded no contest in San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, to a felony charge of making criminal threats and was sentenced to a year in jail and three years of supervised probation. Other details of that case were not immediately available.
San Francisco neighbor Greg Little, 53, said he also saw officers take Giusti away.
"He was real quiet when they took him out. He wasn't combative," Little said.
Sister Lorna Walsh, community operations manager of the Mercy Housing complex where Giusti lives, said he had lived in the subsidized housing for almost 10 years. She would not comment further.
Giusti is due in court Thursday.