WASHINGTON — The Justice Division on Friday charged a Texas man with publicly calling for the assassination of Georgia’s election officers on the day earlier than the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
The case is the primary introduced by the division’s Election Threats Activity Pressure, an agency created last summer to deal with threats towards elections and election employees. Federal prosecutors accused the person, Chad Christopher Stark, 54, of Leander, Texas, of calling for “Georgia Patriots” to “put a bullet” in a Georgia election official the indictment refers to as Official A.
Mr. Stark, in keeping with the three-page indictment, made the risk in a put up on Craigslist, the web message board, whereas then-President Donald J. Trump and his allies had been placing public strain on Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who licensed Mr. Trump’s defeat in Georgia to Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“Georgia Patriots it’s time for us to take again our state from these Lawless treasonous traitors,” Mr. Stark wrote, in keeping with the indictment. “It’s time to invoke our Second Modification proper it’s time to place a bullet within the treasonous Chinese language [Official A]. Then we work our means right down to [Official B] the native and federal corrupt judges.”
Mr. Stark was charged with one depend of speaking interstate threats.
The Craigslist posting got here at a second of intense political strain towards election officers in battleground states. Mr. Trump had phoned Mr. Raffensperger on Jan. 2 final 12 months and demanded that he “discover” almost 12,000 votes to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in Georgia. The posting was printed on Jan. 5, a day earlier than a Trump-inspired crowd attacked america Capitol in an effort to dam Congress from certifying Mr. Biden as the following president.
On Thursday, a district lawyer in Atlanta requested a choose to convene a special grand jury to assist a felony investigation into Mr. Trump’s makes an attempt to overturn the 2020 election ends in Georgia. If the investigation proceeds, authorized consultants say that the previous president’s potential felony publicity might embrace expenses of racketeering or conspiracy to commit election fraud.
Mr. Raffensperger on Friday didn’t verify if he was among the many election officers focused.
“I strongly condemn threats towards election employees and people who volunteer in elections,” he mentioned in a press release. “These are the individuals who make our democracy work.”
Kenneth A. Well mannered Jr., the top of the Justice Division’s Felony Division, mentioned on Friday that the duty power is reviewing over 850 reviews of threats to election officers and has opened dozens of felony investigations.
In the course of the 2020 election cycle and in its speedy aftermath, election employees “got here below unprecedented verbal assault for doing nothing greater than their jobs,” Mr. Well mannered instructed reporters Friday. “Because the lawyer basic and deputy lawyer basic have each emphasised beforehand: We is not going to tolerate the intimidation of those that safeguard our electoral system.”
The duty power, created final June by the deputy lawyer basic, Lisa O. Monaco, developed a system to log and monitor all reported threats to election employees and F.B.I. brokers, and federal prosecutors had been educated to absorb, assess and examine the allegations. Mr. Well mannered mentioned the duty power has prioritized discovering methods to boost safety for state and native election employees.
The Texas case represents the duty power’s first indictment and arrest. Mr. Well mannered declined to elaborate on what Mr. Stark might have deliberate to do.
“The communication right here speaks for itself,” Mr. Well mannered mentioned, referring to Mr. Stark’s Craigslist put up, which supplied $10,000 and referred to as for “Patriots” to “exterminate these folks.”
Along with the 2 Georgia election officers, Mr. Stark’s Craigslist put up additionally threatened a 3rd Georgia official.
Key Figures within the Jan. 6 Inquiry
He wrote: “militia up Georgia it’s time to spill blood …. we have to pay a go to to [Official C] and her household as effectively and put a bullet her behind the ears.”
An aide to Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who’s operating for governor, mentioned he didn’t know if Ms. Abrams was Official C.
Threats towards Georgia’s election officers continued effectively after the state completed counting and recounting the votes in its 2020 presidential contest. Two low-level employees whom Mr. Trump and his allies within the right-wing media falsely accused of counting fraudulent votes have sued the Gateway Pundit website, One America Information Community and Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, for spreading lies about their conduct.
Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, has confronted substantial blame from Trump allies for certifying Mr. Biden’s victory. He faces a major problem this 12 months from Consultant Jody Hice of Georgia, who has adopted a lot of Mr. Trump’s false claims concerning the election.
Mr. Stark couldn’t be reached for remark. His preliminary court docket look was in Austin, Texas, on Friday afternoon, and the choose appointed the federal public defender’s workplace to signify him. He was launched on bond and his arraignment was set for Feb. 4 in Atlanta. Mr. Stark faces as much as 5 years in jail if convicted.
Katie Benner contributed reporting. Kirsten Noyes contributed analysis.