Elgin man accused of threatening Gov. Rauner gets probation
A 31-year-old Elgin man accused of making a death threat to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in May has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and was sentenced to two years of probation and six months wearing an alcohol-monitoring device.
Jesse Kuzma, of the 1100 block of West Highland Avenue, pleaded guilty Friday to attempt to threaten a public official, a misdemeanor, according to Kane County court records.
In addition to the probation and 180 days wearing the alcohol device, Kuzma was ordered to pay $1,840 in fines and fees.
Kane County Judge James Hallock accepted the plea, in which prosecutors reduced the original charge of felony threatening a public official, which had a punishment range of probation to up to five years in prison, records show.
According to prosecutors, Kuzma had called Rauner's office the night of May 7, saying, "If I ever see you, consider this your death threat."
Prosecutors said Kuzma never spoke directly to Rauner; under state statute a person can be charged if he or she makes a statement regarding a public official's safety. Illinois State Police arrested Kuzma several days after the phone message was delivered.
A message left with defense attorney Paul DeLuca was not immediately returned Monday.
Kuzma didn't have any previous criminal arrests in Kane County. He was arrested in May 2002 by Wheaton Police and charged with the misdemeanor of carrying "objects containing noxious liquid or gas," records show. After a bench trial in November he was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon and fined $50.
If Kuzma violates his probation in the Kane County case, he could be resentenced to up to a year in jail.