James Giannakos Jr. of South Carolina was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening a former assistant U.S. attorney who years earlier prosecuted future Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.
Mr. Giannakos allegedly left several voicemails last week threatening the former prosecutor, her family and colleagues, an FBI special agent wrote in a court filing unsealed after his arrest.
The lawyer, who is not identified by name in the filing, was quoted in a Reuters article published a week prior with saying that Mr. Tarrio previously aided in the prosecutions of several people.
In an affidavit in support of arresting Mr. Giannakos, the FBI agent included transcripts of numerous voicemail messages received by the lawyer and others at the law firm where she currently works.
“I just wanted you to know that if anything happens to Mr. Enrique Tarrio, the same thing will happen to you and your family,” the caller told the lawyer in one of the voicemails, the agent wrote.
“If anything happens to him, I promise you and your associates will pay for it. You will be held responsible,” the caller said, according to FBI special agent Carolyn Amber Gale.
Similar voicemails were received by other employees of the same law firm in Miami as well as co-workers at branches in Orlando, Tampa and Los Angeles, the agent wrote.
The lawyer was interviewed by the FBI on Monday and said that she was “terrified” for the safety of her and her children and had asked police in Miami to protect her residence, the agent wrote.
Each voicemail came from the same phone number, the agent wrote. The FBI contacted its provider and soon obtained subscriber records that led investigators to a home address in Gilbert, S.C.
The agent wrote that she called the number on Monday and a man believed to be Mr. Giannakos answered. Another FBI agent knocked on the door of the address and he answered there, too, she wrote.
Mr. Giannakos appeared in court Thursday morning before Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina and was ordered to remain in federal custody.
Allen B. Burnside, a public defender appointed to represent Mr. Giannakos, declined to comment when reached by The Washington Times afterward.
Mr. Giannakos is due back in court for a detention hearing scheduled for next Wednesday, Feb. 11.
The Proud Boys, a men-only group of self-described “western chauvinists,” was started in 2016 by Canadian media personality Gavin McInnes. Mr. Tarrio, of Miami, has been its chairman since 2019.
Years prior to the founding of the Proud Boys Mr. Tarrio pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to the reselling of stolen diabetic test strips kits. Citing previously unreported transcripts of a 2014 court hearing related to that conviction, Reuters reported last week that Mr. Tarrio was credited by the former prosecutor — as well as his own lawyer — with assisting criminal investigators.
Several members of the Proud Boys are among the scores of people facing charges for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during the insurrection that led to former President Trump’s impeachment.
Canada accordingly designated the group a terrorist entity Wednesday.