Elgin man pleads guilty to lesser charge in Rauner death threat

KANE COUNTY — 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 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.