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Man sentenced for stalking Indian-American Congresswoman Jayapal

A 49-year-old man has been sentenced to 364 days in Seattle’s King County Jail after he admitted to stalking Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal last year, according to media reports.

Brett Forsell pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor stalking rather than the felony stalking charge prosecutors originally filed, the Seattle Times reported.

Forsell was arrested on July 9 after allegedly yelling obscenities and threats outside Jayapal’s Seattle home, but was released four days later as police couldn’t find evidence to support the charge.

Prosecutors later charged Forsell with harassing and intimidating Jayapal repeatedly, who feared the man wanted to hurt or kill her.

During his arraignment last year, he pled “not guilty” to charges of felony stalking.

He has since been ordered to have no contact with Jayapal and prohibited from possessing firearms for eight years.

He was arrested outside Jayapal’s house in Arbor Heights with a loaded .40-caliber handgun holstered on his waist.

The neighbours said they heard Forsell verbally abusing Jayapal, and saw him try to erect a tent across the street from her house.

While in custody, camera footage recorded Forsell saying he was going to keep coming back to Jayapal’s house until, “she goes back to India”, according to prosecutors.

Born in Chennai, Jayapal immigrated to the US as a teenager.

After two years in Washington state politics — serving in the state senate — she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016, becoming the first Indian woman to do so.

Representing Washington’s 7th Congressional District, Democrat Jayapal heads the party’s congressional liberals as chairperson of the House Progressive Caucus.

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