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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Election-Related Threat Toward Georgia Public Officials

A Texas man pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 in the Northern District of Georgia to posting a message online threatening several Georgia public officials following the 2020 election.

“This case marks another destructive example of threats of violence to the election community and law enforcement,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department will not tolerate the criminal targeting of the men and women responsible for administering our elections and ensuring that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise the most fundamental right in our democracy: the right to vote.” 

According to court documents, around Jan. 5, 2021, Chad Christopher Stark, 55, of Leander, posted a message to Craigslist entitled, “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill [Official A] the Chinese agent – $10,000.” The message included the following: “It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment right it’s time to put a bullet in the treasonous Chinese [Official A]. Then we work our way down to [Official B] the local and federal corrupt judges. It’s our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force. . . . If we want our country back we have to exterminate these people. 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….  we need to pay a visit to [Official C] and her family as well and put a bullet her behind the ears. Remember one thing local law enforcement the key word being local…..  we will find you oathbreakers and we’re going to pay your family to visit your mom your dad your brothers and sisters your children your wife…  we’re going to make examples of traitors to our country…  death to you and all you communist friends.”

“All across this country our fellow citizens and neighbors, including many retirees, choose to serve as elections officials, poll workers, and in other capacities to help ensure free and fair elections in the United States. They serve out of a patriotic duty and appreciation for our nation and deserve to do so without fear of retaliation or threats of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia. “Stark threatened officials working at all levels of the election process including elected office holders and a volunteer poll worker. His egregious conduct placed our democracy in jeopardy, striking at the heart of the process we assume to be insulated from such attacks. Our office will remain steadfast in partnering with federal, state, and local authorities to safeguard those who work to secure our elections.”

“Today’s guilty plea plainly shows that anyone who threatens election officials online will be investigated by the FBI and held accountable for their words” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “We must take calls to violence seriously, whatever their form, especially when they have the potential to result in physical harm and undermine the integrity of U.S. elections.”

Stark pleaded guilty to one count of a sending a threat using a telecommunications device. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI Atlanta Field Office is investigating the case. 

Election Crimes Branch Director of Enforcement and Litigation Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel Brent A. Gray for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting this case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the Department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed, or volunteer – are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. 

Read more at the Justice Department

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