Nov 30, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Texas man sentenced for threatening Georgia officials after 2020 election

Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray speak during a news conference in D.C. in January.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray during a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A Texas man accused of threatening Georgia officials in a Craigslist post that called for their killing following the 2020 election was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday.

The big picture: Chad Christopher Stark, 55, of Leander, was the first person arrested under the Department of Justice's Election Threats Task Force, which launched in 2021 in response to a spike in threats against election workers following the 2020 election.

Driving the news: Stark pleaded guilty in August to one count of communicating interstate threats over the Craigslist post, titled "Georgia Patriots it's time to kill [official not publicly named] the Chinese agent - $10,000."

  • The post suggested people "put a bullet in" officials who were not publicly named, along with local and federal judges.
  • "One good loyal Patriot deer hunter in camo and a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors.. milita up Georgia it's time to spill blood," the post said.
  • It was posted on Jan. 5, 2021, the day before Congress certified President Biden's presidential election win and the U.S. Capitol riot.

What they're saying: Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley, of the FBI Atlanta Field Office, which led the investigation, said in a statement: "Sending death threats and urging others to act is not protected speech — it is a crime."

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement noted that Stark "threatened the lives of multiple election workers in an attempt to prevent them from doing their job" and his sentencing demonstrates the Bureau's "resolute commitment to securing American elections from any attempts to undermine their integrity."
  • Garland said the sentence "should serve as warning — illegal threats against the public servants who make our democracy work will be met with the full force of the Justice Department."
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