Following a one-week trial before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Brendan Hunt, also known as “X-Ray Ultra,” of threatening to assault and murder members of the United States Congress to impede, interfere and intimidate with those members and to retaliate against them on account of their performance of their official duties. When sentenced on June 22, 2021, Hunt faces up to 10 years in prison.
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the verdict.
“With today’s verdict, the defendant is now a convicted felon, not for his repugnant, racist rants, but because he threatened to attack and kill members of Congress to prevent them from carrying out their constitutional duties, and that is a federal crime,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko. “This Office will not tolerate threats of violence against public officials who are entrusted with upholding the Constitution.”
Mr. Lesko and Mr. Sweeney praised the outstanding work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force on the case.
On January 8, 2021, two days after the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Hunt posted a video called “KILL YOUR SENATORS” that included the summary “Slaughter them all,” to BitChute, an Internet-based video sharing site. In the video, Hunt made additional threats, exhorting his viewers to violence and telling them that “[w]e need to go back to the U.S. Capitol when all of the Senators and a lot of the Representatives are back there, and this time we have to show up with our guns. And we need to slaughter these m—–f—–s.” Hunt also advocated for the violent overthrow of the federal government, claiming that “our government at this point is basically a handful of traitors . . . so what you need to do is take up arms, get to D.C., probably the inauguration . . . so called inauguration of this m—–f—–g communist Joe Biden . . . [T]hat’s probably the best time to do this, get your guns, show up to D.C., and literally just spray these m—–f—–s . . . put some bullets in their f——g heads.” Hunt stated, “If anybody has a gun, give me it, I’ll go there myself and shoot them and kill them . . . [W]e have to take out these Senators and then replace them with actual patriots. This is a [Zionist Occupied Government].”
The evidence at trial also showed that, between December 6, 2020 and January 8, 2021, Hunt made a series of posts on various social media websites in which he targeted Members of Congress, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On December 6, 2020, Hunt posted two messages on his Facebook account, the first calling Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer, and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez “high-value target[s].” Hunt stated: “They really need to be put down. These commies will see death before they see us surrender.” A second message called on former President Donald Trump to hold a public execution of Pelosi, Schumer, and Ocasio-Cortez. “If you dont do it, the citizenry will. We’re not voting in another rigged election. Start up the firing squads, mow down these commies, and lets take America back,” Hunt stated.
The evidence included the defendant’s social media and video accounts, as well as videos, text messages, emails, and documents downloaded from the defendant’s electronic devices espousing white supremacist and anti-Semitic views, including Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and accused mass murderer Dylan Roof’s manifesto.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys David K. Kessler, Ian C. Richardson and Francisco J. Navarro are in charge of the prosecution.