San Francisco, California (CNN) -- A man accused of threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wept Thursday as he talked to his attorney before a federal court hearing.
Gregory L. Giusti, 48, was charged with making obscene, threatening or harassing phone calls. He was not asked to submit a plea and remained in custody pending a further hearing.
A Justice Department news release said the maximum penalty for the charge was two years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
Giusti was arrested Wednesday in San Francisco, where Pelosi's home district is located, according to FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler.
Pelosi is the top Democrat in the U.S. House and was a leading figure in efforts to win congressional approval of sweeping health care legislation.
A statement from Pelosi's office said the arrest occurred "after an investigation into threats against" the speaker. It thanked law enforcement officials and said Pelosi would have no further comment at this time.
Threats against U.S. senators and representatives increased as Congress completed work last month on the health care bill, which was unanimously opposed by Republicans. In addition, conservative activists around the country protested the bill. Most of the reported threats were against Democrats, though there were some against Republicans.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a 64-year-old Washington state resident for allegedly issuing death threats against Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, who supported the health care bill.
A department statement said the suspect, identified as Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Washington, made the threats in phone messages to Murray's office between March 22 and April 4.
Wilson allegedly stated that Murray "had a target on her back" and that he wanted to kill her, according to the statement, which said the threats were in response to congressional passage of the health care bill.
CNN's Dan Simon contributed to this report.