Man accused of shooting into Democratic office pleads guilty to federal charges

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A suburban Philadelphia man accused of firing three shots into a local Democratic Party office on Inauguration Day has pleaded guilty to related federal charges.

Anthony Nero, 48, entered the pleas last week to federal charges of sending threatening communications and cyberstalking in connection with threats days before the three shots were fired early Jan. 20 into the Montgomery County party office in Norristown. 

Authorities said the shots, which caused no injuries, were linked to Nero through a threatening email sent Jan. 7, a day after the riot at the U.S. Capitol, warning that the party should "probably beef up security" and referencing President Donald Trump and the false claim that the election had been stolen. 

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Authorities alleged that Nero said he was stressed over losing his family, the COVID-19 shutdown and the election. He originally faced county charges including terroristic threats, terrorism, reckless endangering and a firearms count, but those charges were dropped when the case was moved to federal court. 

Nero said little in the hearing, succinctly answering the judge's questions and acknowledging that "unfortunately" the facts of the case were accurate as presented, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Defense attorney Timothy Woodward said after Wednesday's proceedings that his client is "extremely remorseful for his actions." 

"I can't help but think the climate in our country at the time of the offense and rhetoric coming from elected officials had a profound effect on him and contributed to his actions that day," Woodward said.

Nero remains in custody pending sentencing scheduled for April 14.