Man Charged With Sending Threatening Texts To Democratic Congressman’s Family

Written by on January 27, 2021

A California man was arrested and charged Tuesday with making threats in opposition to relations of a high 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 have been close to their home, based on a legal grievance unsealed in Manhattan federal court docket. One of many texts included an image of a house in the identical neighborhood as Jeffries’ brother.

“Your brother is placing your total household in danger together with his lies and different phrases. We’re armed and close by your home,” Lemke allegedly wrote in a single textual content to Jeffries’ brother. “You had higher have a phrase with him. We aren’t removed from his both. Already spoke to [the Congressman’s son] and know the place his youngsters are.”

“Cease telling lies; Biden didn’t win, he is not going to be president,” he wrote in a subsequent textual content, based on the grievance. “We aren’t[] white supremacists. Most of us are energetic/retired regulation enforcement or navy. … Don’t danger their security together with your phrases and lies.”

Lemke recognized himself on Fb as a former sergeant with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Division and a former captain within the U.S. Air Power, the grievance said. The sheriff’s division denied that Lemke ever labored there, and the Air Power stated that they had no file of his service, The New York Occasions reported.

Lemke ― who was arrested in Bay Level, 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] phrases are placing you and your loved ones in danger,” Lemke allegedly wrote. “We’re close by armed and prepared. Hundreds of us are energetic/retired regulation enforcement, navy, and so forth. That’s how we do it.”

Although the grievance didn’t establish the journalist, referring to him solely as “Journalist-1,” the Occasions recognized him as ABC Information’ 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 Information declined to remark. 

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is shown on the left, and journalist George Stephanopoulos is shown on the right. A Califo

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is proven on the left, and journalist George Stephanopoulos is proven on the best. A California man was arrested and charged Tuesday with making threats in opposition to relations of each males.

In an interview Tuesday with MSNBC, Jeffries, chair of the Home 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 ‘Large Lie’ that Donald Trump instructed and that has been supported by so many Republicans within the Home and the Senate,” Jeffries stated.

Jeffries stated his brother obtained the texts on the identical time members of Congress have been being evacuated from the Home and Senate chambers in the course of the assault.

“These photographs have been being broadcast to relations of members of Congress all throughout the nation who have been unsure as to what was taking place to us,” Jeffries stated. “It was clearly designed to instill terror, and I’m simply grateful that regulation enforcement officers have apprehended this particular person and can permit this course of to play itself out.”

Lemke has been charged with making threatening interstate communications, which carries a most sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. He’s anticipated to look earlier than a federal decide on Wednesday.

The FBI to date has recognized greater than 400 suspects related to the Capitol riot, the Justice Division introduced Wednesday. Greater than 150 legal instances have been filed to date, with expenses that embody theft, harm to authorities property and assault on regulation enforcement officers.

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