US Justice Department charges Texas man for threatening election officials
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US Justice Department charges Texas man for threatening election officials

The US Department of Justice Friday charged a Texas man for allegedly posting on Craigslist a message containing a threat to injure and kill election-related government officials.

On Friday morning, the FBI arrested Chad Stark from Leander, Texas. As per the indictment, on January 5, 2021, Stark posted a message on Craigslist with the subject line, “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill [Official A] the Chinee agent – $10,000.” In the message, Stark also said, “it’s our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force.” Notably, January 5, 2021, was the day of the Senate runoff election in Georgia.

This is the first criminal case filed by the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. In June 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco had launched the task force in response to the increasing threats against election workers, administrators, officials, and others involved in the electoral process. The task force examines, investigates, and prosecutes allegations and reports of threats against election workers in collaboration with the FBI, US Attorneys’ offices, election workers, and state and local law enforcement.

In response to the arrest, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “today’s arrest confirms the FBI’s commitment in our pursuit of justice against those who choose to threaten violence against anyone participating in our elections.”

Furthermore, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said, “the Justice Department has a responsibility not only to protect the right to vote but also to protect those who administer our voting systems from violence and illegal threats of violence.”

Stark was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia on a single count of making interstate threats. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail.