An upstate New York man who was arrested after allegedly phoning death threats against Rep. Carolyn Maloney to her Manhattan office last month says he never threatened to kill the congresswoman.
Ronald Buchanan of Elmira admits calling Maloney's office multiple times at around noontime on April 2. But he told WETM-TV, "Never at any time did I threaten the congresswoman or anyone on her staff."
According to the criminal complaint, Buchanan called Maloney's office to complain about her new gun bill, which would require weapon owners to hold liability insurance or else face a $10,000 fine. Buchanan allegedly told the intern who answered his call that Maloney "needs to stay away from my Second Amendment right."
In a profanity-laced tirade, he went on to say he "hated" Maloney and that he hoped she would "die from cancer," according to the complaint. He added, "I want that b---- dead."
Minutes later, in another call to the office, Buchanan allegedly said he would kill the congresswoman if he saw her.
"I don't care if I have to go to every single speech she makes and heckle her," he allegedly said. "I shouldn't have to pay insurance. As a conservative, I will make sure she stays out of our Second Amendment rights."
Staffers at the office contacted police, who traced the calls to Buchanan and arrested him. According to the complaint, he admitted: "I made calls to her. I did not mean them as threats... I made some phone calls from my cell phone and other calls from my home phone."
Buchanan spent a week in jail in New York City before he was freed. He said he had to put up his home to make bail.
"I find myself in a fight for my freedom, from just allegations," he told WETM-TV. "No voice recordings, nothing."
He said he never raised his voice and that he was "pretty polite about it."
"I merely articulated my views in that first call about her encroaching on our rights," he said. "My second phone call was stating to them that I was putting her phone number on social media. After I did that, they were inundated with phone calls."
Buchanan believes Maloney's office called police out of "retaliation for doing that."
"They were making an example of me," he said. "If you stand up to a congresswoman, this is what will happen to you."
Buchanan maintains his innocence of the harassment and menacing charges and said he plans on suing the city, claiming he "lost income, was handcuffed, put into the national media, embarrassed."
His next court date is scheduled for May 23 in New York City. He said he will ask for a change of venue.
Maloney declined to comment on Buchanan's statements Wednesday. She has said she's moving forward with the firearm insurance legislation, despite the alleged threats.