A detailed property inventory of documents and other items seized from former US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen after the document was released to the public by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, Florida. September 2, 2022.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
A Texas woman has been charged with threatening to kill a federal judge presiding over a case between former President Donald Trump and the Justice Department on records seized last month in an FBI raid on Trump’s home.
An FBI special agent said Tiffani Shea Gish of Houston left three threatening voicemails on the cell phone of Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court in South Florida, according to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 6.
Gish, who identified herself as fictitious Russian agent Evelyn Salt, claimed to be “in charge of nuclear power” for the government, a federal agent and a “Trump 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 main character portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the 2010 action film Salt.
Trump is “assailed and so are you,” Gish said in profanity-laced messages, the complaint showed. “You’re full of s—, and I’m going to f—— you get shot. I already ordered snipers and a bomb for your f—— house.” Gish reportedly said in the voicemails, which were all taken on September 1.
When agents came to her residence on Sept. 4, Gish initially spoke only through a balcony window, but eventually invited agents inside and spoke with them for about 45 minutes, the complaint said. In that interview, Gish said she left voicemails from her cell phone and also confirmed that a Facebook account with posts reflecting 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 of kidnapping or injury.
Magistrate Peter Bray on Friday ordered Gish to be detained pending trial, saying she “appears to be suffering from a serious mental disorder with symptoms including paranoia and delusions”.
Federal prosecutors have asked for a review of Gish’s eligibility, writing in a court filing that her “past conduct demonstrates deceptive behavior in her claims to be a CIA agent, Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and someone familiar with nuclear weapons or warfare.” all while mixing in threats to public officials such as the former president Donald Trump or a former foreign minister Hillary Clinton.”
In March, the U.S. Secret Service called Gish’s mother, who “stated that her daughter suffered from severe bipolar disorder and was borderline schizophrenic,” according to the court filing.
“Although she did not feel that Gish would physically harm the former president, she still feared for her daughter and refused to see her in person for fear of being attacked,” the federal prosecutor wrote.
A competency hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Gish left voicemails for Cannon, a Trump appointee, as the former president’s lawyers and the Justice Department argued over whether a judge should appoint a special master to review thousands of government records seized last month from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida home. That court-appointed third party would examine the seized records, many of which were classified as highly classified, for personal items and possibly privileged material.
Cannon authorized the appointment of a special commander last week, giving Trump a victory. The Justice Department, which argued that the special commander was unnecessary and could harm the government’s national security interests, is appealing the Cannon decision. The department also wants Cannon to suspend her related order blocking the government from further reviewing classified documents that were taken during the raid.
Trump’s lawyers on Monday urged Cannon to deny the request.