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Two arrested on charges of harassing Palin attorney
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania father and son were arrested on Thursday on charges they made harassing phone calls to an attorney for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, authorities said.
The arrest of Craig Christy, 47, and his son Shawn Christy, 19, of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, came a day after they were charged in a federal indictment filed in Alaska with making the harassing phone calls from August 1 to August 9.
The calls were placed after Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, and her attorney John Tiemessen obtained restraining orders against the two men over what they said was harassment.
Craig and Shawn Christy made an initial appearance on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Allentown, Pennsylvania, following their arrest, Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta-Rae Randall said.
No bail was set during the hearing and the two men will be transported to Anchorage, Alaska, for further proceedings, Randall said.
In the federal indictment filed on Wednesday, the two men are each charged with making harassing interstate phone calls.
An Alaska state court had issued a restraining order against Shawn Christy in September 2010, ordering him to have no contact with Palin. In May, a court renewed that and issued a similar order against his father, Craig.
At the same time, the court issued a protective order for Tiemessen against Shawn and Craig Christy, according to an affidavit filed in connection with the indictment.
The affidavit says Tiemessen reported receiving hundreds of calls and many expletive-laced messages from the Christys in early August, and that in one message the Christys said they knew they were violating the protective order.
According to the affidavit, Tiemessen said that in one August 4 call, Craig Christy made a death threat when he said on a message, "I'll (expletive) kill you." The attorney's sister and uncle were also contacted by Craig Christy that day, the court papers said.
An unidentified female attorney in Tiemessen's law firm also received harassing phone calls from the Christys, the affidavit said.
FBI spokesman Frank Burton had earlier said the pair were accused of harassing Palin's family as well as the attorneys.
But the affidavit unsealed on Thursday afternoon did not say that Craig and Shawn Christy called Palin's family during the August 1 to August 9 time frame given in the indictment.
Shawn Christy has previously admitted in court to having threatened to rape Palin, sending her numerous e-mails and gifts, and traveling to Anchorage earlier this year.
Craig Christy admitted to making more than two dozen early morning phone calls to Palin's parents over a two-day period in March. State Superior Court magistrate Jonathon Lack said earlier this year that he found the telephone calls to Palin's parents, some of which were recorded, to be "very disturbing."
(Additional reporting by Yereth Rosen; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
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