A woman testified Friday that a northwest suburban man threatened her life and the lives of FBI employees — only to be contradicted by the police officer who took her statement nine months ago.
Andrea Kerrigan’s testimony came during the second day of the trial of Matthew Berger, who’s charged with making threatening statements to FBI employees and trying to force his way into a bureau satellite office in Rolling Meadows on Dec. 17, 2018.
Kerrigan said that she encountered Berger, 34, in a parking lot of the building at 1600 Golf Rd. as she was arriving for work that morning. In the parking lot, Kerrigan said, Berger told her: “I’m gonna kill you, the people in the FBI and the people in the building.” Kerrigan described Berger’s tone of voice as “menacing.”
“I was scared. He made threats and I thought he was going to harm people,” Kerrigan said, adding that Berger used both his hands to mimic the shape of guns while he spoke to her.
During cross-examination, though, one of Berger’s attorneys, Steve Greenberg, offered to show Kerrigan a copy of the police report from that day, which included a summary of her statements to a Rolling Meadows police officer. Kerrigan, who works in a different office in the building, told Greenberg that reading the police report would not refresh her memory of what she told Officer Jaime Rivera.
After prosecutors rested their case, Greenberg called Rivera to testify. He described Kerrigan’s demeanor as “calm” and “not forgetful or anxious.” Rivera said that Kerrigan never mentioned anything to him about Berger making threats.
Berger was indicted in December 2018, not long after he made a series of threatening calls to various FBI offices across the country, according to prosecutors.
His attorneys pointed to the fact that Berger had called FBI offices so often that the bureau had formally designated him as a “nuisance” — someone who’s called into tip lines more than 20 times without any information related to current or potential investigations.
In one call from Dec. 14, 2018, Berger told an FBI call taker: “This is Matthew Berger and you are my enemy, U.S. government, and I’m about to show you why it’s not a good idea to be my enemy.”
Berger sounded irate in several of the calls, often belittling the call takers in profanity laced tirades that usually prompted the FBI employee to hang up on him.
Three days after the “enemy” call, Berger went to an FBI satellite office in Rolling Meadows. That’s where, prosecutors say, he tried to force his way inside.
Security footage from inside the building captured Berger knocking on a nondescript door to the FBI offices. After a few moments, a woman opened the door. Berger put his left hand on the door and appeared to try to walk in, but the woman — FBI employee Carla McJunkin — quickly yanked the door shut.
McJunkin testified Friday that she was “extremely frightened” when Berger tried to walk in.
Jurors opted to go home for the day around 2 p.m. Closing arguments and jury deliberations are scheduled for Monday.