Proud Boys Support Pleads Guilty to Threatening Sen. Warnock

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U.S.|Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening to Kill Newly Elected U.S. Senator

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/16/us/capitol-riot-raphael-warnock.html

Federal prosecutors said Eduard Florea of Queens posted menacing threats online against Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Congress before and during the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Senator Raphael Warnock at the U.S. Capitol in June.
Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Aug. 16, 2021, 7:42 p.m. ET

A New York man who supported the far-right Proud Boys group pleaded guilty on Monday to threatening to kill Raphael Warnock, a newly elected Senator from Georgia, before and during the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

The man, Eduard Florea, 41, of Queens, pleaded guilty to posting violent threats against Mr. Warnock, who had just won a runoff election in Georgia for the Senate and was later sworn in on Jan. 20. “Warnock is going to have a hard time casting votes for communist policies when he’s swinging with the fish,” Mr. Florea posted online on Jan. 5, using an expletive before fish.

Mr. Florea also pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to a weapons offense after federal agents discovered a vast arsenal in his New York City home in January, including more than 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition that he unlawfully possessed because of a prior felony conviction, prosecutors said in a news release.

Mr. Florea, a software engineer whose arrest in January came amid an intensifying nationwide manhunt for those who broke into the U.S. Capitol, will face up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 29, federal prosecutors said. Mr. Florea is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

“With today’s guilty plea, Florea admits to threatening the life of a successful candidate for the U.S. Senate and to urging others to take up arms to unleash violence at the Capitol,” Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. “This office is deeply committed to protecting our democratic institutions and to using all available tools to preserve the public safety, uphold the rule of law and support the peaceful transfer of power.”

Mia Eisner-Grynberg, a lawyer for Mr. Florea, declined to comment on Monday.

Mr. Warnock’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The runoff election victory for Mr. Warnock, and that of Jon Ossoff, a fellow Georgia Democrat, effectively cemented control of the U.S. Senate for Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker in the 50-50 chamber.

Mr. Florea posted his violent comments on Parler, a social networking app popular with conservatives, under the name, “LoneWolfWar.” A day before a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, Mr. Florea, who was not in Washington, posted on Parler that everyone needed to “come to an agreement” and “go armed” to the Capitol so they “could take back Washington,” according to court records.

Minutes later, Mr. Florea wrote that Jan. 6 could become “the day the war kicks off,” adding that he was “definitely slicing a throat” in Washington, according to court records.

At 12:42 a.m. on Jan. 6, Mr. Florea referenced Mr. Warnock online and said, “Dead men can’t pass” laws, according to court records.

Later that day, after the storming of the U.S. Capitol had begun, Mr. Florea posted that he intended to go to Washington with a group of armed individuals who would be ready to engage in more violence, federal prosecutors said.

While the Capitol was under siege, federal prosecutors said, Mr. Florea posted: “It’s time to unleash some violence.”

Mr. Florea continued to post threatening comments that day, promising to be “armed and ready to deploy” to the Capitol with “guns cleaned loaded,” according to court records.

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