McMURRAY – The personal attorney for state Rep. Natalie Mihalek said anger over the recent presidential election needs to be toned down after a man was charged last month of stalking the Republican politician and vandalizing her district office.
Attorney John Biedrzycki said Mihalek’s staff continues to receive countless harassing phone calls each day from people angry over President Donald Trump’s defeat to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“These types of things are not just a threat to people who they’re levied against … but democracy itself,” Biedrzycki said. “We certainly hope the nation calms down, and that starts locally.”
Just a few minutes early, Christopher Allan Frank, 57, of Peters Township, waived to court four separate cases against him before his preliminary hearing Tuesday with District Judge Jesse Pettit.
Frank was charged Nov. 29 and accused of soaping the windows at Mihalek’s district office at 3515 Washington Road in Peters Township, writing angry messages expressing dissatisfaction with the election. He faces multiple charges of stalking, institutional vandalism and harassment, although one count of possession of an instrument of a crime – the soap allegedly found in his car during a traffic stop by Peters Township police – was withdrawn.
Biedrzycki said Mihalek, R-Upper St. Clair, and her staff continue to get battered with angry phone calls from Trump’s supporters who are dissatisfied with her unwillingness to pledge to attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results that gave its 20 electoral college votes to Biden. Three of Mihalek’s staffers arrived with her and waited in the district court’s lobby as Frank waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Frank’s attorney, Adam Yarussi, said they agreed to waive the charges and hope to work with the district attorney’s on a possible deal. Yarussi said Frank never visited Mihalek’s house, as other people have in recent weeks.
“There’s a lot of discord,” Yarussi said of the current political climate.
“As time dies out and passes, we are willing to work on a resolution,” he said of a potential plea deal in the case.
Biedrzycki noted if a U.S. senator or congressman were threatened, the suspect could face federal charges and up to five years in a federal prison. He said Mihalek would like to see similar punishment for anyone who threatens a state official. Mihalek has since relocated her district office from the shopping center at at 3515 Washington Road in Peters.
Frank is free on $20,000 unsecured bond. Assistant District Attorney Kevin Scheibel asked Pettit to add a no contact order to Frank’s bond. Frank would be permitted to return to his native Kentucky under terms of his bond. His formal arraignment in Washington County Court is scheduled for Jan. 19.