- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A California man late Tuesday was arrested and charged with sending threatening messages to relatives of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and journalist George Stephanopoulos during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Robert Lemke, 35, is charged with one count of threatening interstate communications. He faces five years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Jeffries, New York Democrat, was not identified in the complaint, but his office confirmed his involvement. He also spoke of the threat in an interview on MSNBC.

Prosecutors say Mr. Lemke sent Mr. Jeffries’ brother and sister-in-law menacing texts about the 2020 presidential election, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in New York.

“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house,” one of the messages read, according to the complaint. “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.”

The complaint said Mr. Lemke included a picture of a house in the family members’ neighborhood.

Mr. Jeffries confirmed in an MSNBC interview that he is the lawmaker in the complaint. He said his brother received the complaint as members were being evacuated from the U.S. Capitol as a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the building.

The rioters were trying to stop the certification of President Biden’s election victory.

“What was chilling in the message that was received is that this individual said, ‘Stop telling lies. Biden did not win. He will not be president,’” Mr. Jefferies said in the interview. “And so he was radicalized by the big lie that Donald Trump told and that has been supported by so many Republicans in the House and the Senate.”

Prosecutors say Mr. Lemke also threatened Mr. Stephanopoulos, who hosts ABC this week.

“Words are putting you and your family at risk,” Mr. Lemke allegedly wrote in a text message. “We are nearby armed and ready. Thousands of us are active/retired law enforcement, military, etc. That’s how we do it.”

Mr. Lemke claimed in social posts that he was either a former law enforcement officer or military veteran, according to the complaint. A Facebook profile says he was a former member of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department in Northern California, according to court filings.

In a statement, the department denied Mr. Lemke ever worked there.

“There is very false information on social media that a Robert Lemke worked for the Alameda County Sheriff,” the department said. “This information has proven to be untrue by the FBI and our agency.”

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