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Man Accused of Threatening Rep. Jayapal Pleads Not Guilty

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle man charged with felony stalking for allegedly standing outside U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s home and yelling expletives while armed with a pistol has pleaded not guilty.

King County Superior Court judge on Tuesday set Brett Forsell’s bail at $150,000 during Forsell’s arraignment hearing, KING-TV reported.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office requested $500,000 bail, arguing Forsell is “likely to commit a violent offense if free in the community.” Forsell allegedly told investigators he would return to Jayapal’s home as soon as he was released.

Forsell, 49, was arrested July 9 after yelling obscenities and threats outside Jayapal’s Seattle home late at night and booked into jail. He was released when prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence for a hate crime charge, though authorities noted the investigation would continue.

Police later forwarded the stalking case for consideration, prosecutors said.

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In 2016, Jayapal became the first Indian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Democrat heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As part of the felony stalking charge, prosecutors noted Forsell was armed with a deadly weapon and that Jayapal was stalked in connection with her elected position.

Forsell told police he drove by Jayapal’s house yelling obscenities multiple times since late June and on July 9 drove by, stopped, got out of the car and directed profanities at Jayapal, according to a probable cause statement.

A neighbor told police she heard a man threaten to kill Jayapal and believed the statements were made by the man arrested that night.

Forsell will have to meet several conditions including GPS monitoring, alcohol monitoring, stalking protection order and home monitoring if he posts bail.

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