A California man was arrested and charged Tuesday with making threats in opposition to members of the family of a prime Democratic congressman and a journalist the identical day an insurrectionist mob attacked the Capitol earlier this month.
Robert Lemke, 35, despatched threatening textual content messages to the brother and sister-in-law of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), warning that armed supporters of then-President Donald Trump had been close to their home, in line with a criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal courtroom. One of the texts included an image of a house in the identical neighborhood as Jeffries’ brother.
“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house,” Lemke allegedly wrote in a single textual content to Jeffries’ brother. “You had better have a word with him. We are not far from his either. Already spoke to [the Congressman’s son] and know where his kids are.”
“Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president,” he wrote in a subsequent textual content, in line with the criticism. “We are not white supremacists. Most of us are active/retired law enforcement or military. … Don’t risk their safety with your words and lies.”
Lemke recognized himself on Facebook as a former sergeant with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and a former captain within the U.S. Air Force, the criticism acknowledged. The sheriff’s division denied that Lemke ever labored there, and the Air Force mentioned that they had no file of his service, The New York Times reported.
Lemke ― who was arrested in Bay Point, California, positioned about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco ― additionally allegedly despatched disturbing texts that day to a journalist’s member of the family.
“[The Journalist’s] words are putting you and your family at risk,” Lemke allegedly wrote. “We are nearby armed and ready. Thousands of us are active/retired law enforcement, military, etc. That’s how we do it.”
Though the criticism didn’t determine the journalist, referring to him solely as “Journalist-1,” the Times recognized him as ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, citing an individual briefed on the investigation.
The U.S. lawyer’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for remark. ABC News declined to remark.
In an interview Tuesday with MSNBC, Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, referred to as the threats “chilling” and blamed Trump and his allies for scary Lemke and the Capitol rioters by spreading lies in regards to the election.
“He was radicalized by the ‘Big Lie’ that Donald Trump told and that has been supported by so many Republicans in the House and the Senate,” Jeffries mentioned.
Jeffries mentioned his brother obtained the texts on the identical time members of Congress had been being evacuated from the House and Senate chambers through the assault.
“Those images were being broadcast to family members of members of Congress all across the country who were uncertain as to what was happening to us,” Jeffries mentioned. “It was clearly designed to instill terror, and I’m just thankful that law enforcement officials have apprehended this individual and will allow this process to play itself out.”
Lemke has been charged with making threatening interstate communications, which carries a most sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. He is predicted to look earlier than a federal decide on Wednesday.
The FBI to this point has recognized greater than 400 suspects related to the Capitol riot, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. More than 150 prison instances have been filed to this point, with expenses that embrace theft, harm to authorities property and assault on legislation enforcement officers.
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