York County man accused of threatening Scott Perry pleads to lesser offense
A northern York County man who police said threatened U.S. Rep. Scott Perry has avoided trial by pleading guilty to a summary nontraffic offense.
Mark S. Malinowski has "never been in trouble before in his whole life," defense attorney Rick Robinson said, and simply "got caught up" in the heat of political rhetoric.
Malinowski, 64, of Washington Township, appeared before Dillsburg-area District Judge Richard Thomas on Monday morning for a preliminary hearing on his third-degree misdemeanor charge of harassment.
But senior deputy prosecutor Phoebe Yates told the judge that an agreement had been reached for Malinowski to plead guilty to the summary grading of that offense in exchange for the misdemeanor version being dropped.
Thomas accepted Malinowski's guilty plea to a summary nontraffic version of harassment and fined him $100. With court costs added, Malinowski owed a total of $350.57, which he paid immediately Monday morning, court records state.
"It was a fair resolution," Robinson said afterward. He acknowledged his client had been told to stop leaving messages for, and sending emails to, Perry and his staff, but he continued to do so.
"There was never any intent to make a threat or carry out a threat," the defense attorney said. "I think it was more just political rhetoric."
Yates referred requests for comment to first assistant district attorney Tim Barker, who had not returned a message seeking comment as of 4:45 p.m. Monday.
In a statement emailed Monday afternoon, Perry said:
"My gratitude and respect for our law enforcement officers — specifically in this case, our tremendous Pennsylvania State Police and our outstanding District Attorneys who protect our communities, county and Commonwealth every day — can never be overstated."
The background: State police said Malinowski sent four emails and left two voicemails for Perry at the Congress member's office between Dec. 4 and Jan. 9.
According to charging documents, Malinowski's Dec. 11 voicemail stated: "It's just reprehensible that you, being former military and supposedly honorable what you are doing. It's just unbelievable. You are subverting your constituents and you are a useless lump of flesh. If I saw you on the street, I wouldn't even spit on you. I will make sure you don't get in this office again you scumbag."
On Jan. 6, Malinowski sent an email to Perry's office with the subject line "Assault on the Capitol," according to documents, that stated, "Look at what you have helped cause you f—ing hump."
The email called out "seditious" Republicans and went on to say, "If I ever see you in person, I will not be responsible for my actions," charging documents state.
Charging documents state that on Jan. 7, Malinowski left a voicemail at Perry's office stating, "Scott Perry you're a d—bag. You are responsible for the s— that went on at the Capitol today. And you know just rot in hell and if I see you in person, I'm not going to be responsible for my actions. You deserve to have your head taken off. You f—ing asshole."
Similar case: It's the same resolution as one for a man accused of threatening to "have a bullet waiting" for Gov. Tom Wolf.
Rocco Anthony Naples, 29, of Pleasant Unity, Westmoreland County, pleaded guilty to summary harassment during a Jan. 27 Zoom hearing before District Judge Joel Toluba.
In exchange, Naples' other charges were dropped.
He initially was charged with the third-degree felony of threats and other improper influence in official and political matters, plus the misdemeanors of making terroristic threats and harassment.
Naples received the same fine and court costs that Malinowski did, court records reveal.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.