A California man who sent threatening messages to relatives of New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and an unidentified journalist during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 was arrested Tuesday, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Robert Lemke, 35, was arrested in northern California after sending threatening texts to Jeffries’ brother and sister-in-law, the complaint says. While the complaint did not name Jeffries himself, he identified himself as the lawmaker whose family was threatened on MSNBC Tuesday night.
“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words,” Lemke allegedly said over text, according to the complaint. “We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him. We are not far from his either. Your words have consequences. Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president.”
On MSNBC, Jeffries said that the texts were a result of Republican-led efforts to sow doubt in the 2020 presidential election.
“He was radicalized by the big lie that Donald Trump told and that has been supported by so many Republicans in the House and Senate,” Jeffries said.
Trump was impeached by the House one week after his supporters stormed the Capitol on charges of inciting the insurrection, after he had baselessly claimed for weeks that he had actually won the election and that widespread fraud had handed the presidency to President Joe Biden.
Lemke also sent threatening messages to the relative of a journalist who remains unidentified. (RELATED: Texas Man Allegedly Threatened To Kill His Kids If They Turned Him In For Participating In Capitol Riot)
“Words are putting you and your family at risk. We are nearby armed and ready,” the messages said, according to the complaint. “Thousands of us are active/retired law enforcement, military, etc. That’s how we do it.”
Lemke was arrested in Bay Point, California, according to a Justice Department news release. He was charged with making threatening interstate communications, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.
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