Californian threatened the family of Brooklyn congressman on the day of the attempted Capitol coup
Subscribe to our Policy NewsletterNY for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the 2021 elections in your district and across New York
Federal agents have indicted a Californian for making violent threats to harm the family of Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as well as a New York relative of a journalist, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Robert Lemke, 35, of Bay Shore, Calif., Faces up to five years in federal prison for allegedly making threatening interstate communications, according to U.S. Attorney General Audrey Strauss of the Southern District of New York.
Prosecutors said Lemke threatened Jeffries and the unidentified reporter on January 6 – the same day an angry mob of Trump supporters at the so-called “Stop the Steal” rally stormed the Capitol. United States to attempt to discontinue certification. of the results of the presidential election.
“Rather than disagree peacefully, Lemke reportedly threatened to harm the families of these people, demanding that they retract their statements,” Strauss said in a statement. “The electoral process is the essential mechanism by which our democracy functions. While in any election it is inevitable that some will be disappointed with the outcome, threats of violence cannot and will not be tolerated. “
The suspect was arrested as part of an investigation by the Joint FBI-NYPD Terrorism Task Force.
“To individuals and groups who would seek to threaten a member of the United States Congress, this arrest should serve as a warning that the NYPD and its law enforcement partners will ensure that you are held accountable for your actions,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Lemke reportedly texted one of Jeffries’ brothers which included a photo of a house in the same neighborhood as the victim. Jeffries is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and gained national notoriety as a manager in former President Trump’s first impeachment trial last year.
In the text to Jeffries’ brother, Lemke reportedly wrote: “Your brother is putting your whole family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and close to your house. You better have a note for him.
Prosecutors said Lemke further claimed he spoke with Jeffries’ son “and knew where his children were.”
On the same day, Lemke reportedly sent similar threats to the congressman’s sister-in-law, telling her to “calm your husband” and that “we saw on the hidden camera that he was quite moved”.
Also on January 6, federal agents allege that Lemke sent SMS threats to a relative of a journalist of a similar nature. He said that “the journalist’s words put you and your family in danger” and that “we are armed and ready”. Lemke reportedly described the “us” he referred to as thousands of “active / retired law enforcement” and military.
A review of Lemke’s Facebook account revealed threats made before the Capitol raid. November 7, 2020 – the day mainstream media cast Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election over former President Trump – Lemke reportedly wrote nonsense about Trump’s false claims of a rigged election, but also said: “People. Be ready for war.
He also urged people who read his post to “keep an eye out for a variety of protests and Stop the Steal Facebook groups for updates.”
In a statement, Jeffries’ office expressed gratitude to the FBI, the United States Capitol Police, the NYPD and other law enforcement authorities “for their commitment to protecting the safety and welfare of the public. be family and all members of the United States Congress ”.
Several New Yorkers are believed to have been involved in the January 6 putsch are currently awaiting prosecution for their role in the attempt to overthrow the president-elect.