A Texas man was sentenced to two years in prison today for posting a message online threatening several Georgia state officials following the 2020 election.
“Threats of violence against those who run our elections endanger people’s personal safety and are dangerous to our democracy,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This sentence should serve as a warning – illegal threats against the officials who keep our democracy running will be met with the utmost severity by the Department of Justice.”
According to court documents, on or about January 5, 2021, Chad Christopher Stark, 55, of Leander, posted a message to Craigslist titled: “Georgia Patriots, it’s time to kill.” [Official A] the Chinese agent – $10,000.” The message said:
“Georgia Patriots, it is time for us to take back our state from these lawless, treacherous traitors. It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment. It’s time to put a bullet in the treacherous Chinese’s faces [Official A]. Then we work our way down [Official B] the local and federal corrupt judges. It is our duty as American patriots to end the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force. We can no longer wait for corrupt law enforcement in the corrupt courts. If we want our country back, we have to exterminate these people. A good loyal Patriot deer hunter in camouflage and with a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors. Milita in Georgia, it’s time to shed blood. we have to pay a visit [Official C] and her family and put a bullet behind her ears. Let us be very clear with our local law enforcement agencies that they have stood back and watched as BLM-Antifa destroys our country and kills our citizens. Yet you will work to stop Patriot supporters, you will enforce face masks, and you will close American businesses??? Remember one thing: Local law enforcement – the key word is “local”… We will find you as an oath breaker and pay your family to visit your mother, your father, your brothers and sisters, your children, your wife… We “We will make an example of the traitors to our country…Death to you and all your communist friends.”
“It’s simple: Protecting America’s democracy means protecting the officials and officials who ensure the electoral process is fair and free,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Christopher Stark threatened the lives of several poll workers to prevent them from doing their jobs. Today’s sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s resolute commitment to protecting America’s elections from any attempts to undermine their integrity.”
“The conviction and sentencing of this defendant should send a clear message: intimidating those sworn to oversee and facilitate free and fair elections in this country is a serious offense that carries significant criminal penalties,” US said -Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan Northern District of Georgia. “Severely threatened elected officials throughout the state of Georgia and a volunteer county poll worker. These threats were equally damaging and his conduct endangered our democracy.”
“Making death threats and calling on others to take action is not protected speech – it is a crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley of the FBI Atlanta Field Office. “Stark’s conviction is a warning to all that those who seek to undermine American democracy will be held criminally responsible.”
The FBI Atlanta field office investigated the case.
Aaron Jennen, election community liaison, and Sean F. Mulryne, former director of enforcement and litigation for the Election Crimes Division, of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Brent A. Gray, senior litigation counsel for the Northern District of Georgia, have this case prosecuted.
This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threat Task Force. The task force, announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched in June 2021 by Assistant Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, has led the Department’s efforts to counter threats of violence against poll workers and ensure that all poll workers – whether elected, appointed or volunteers can do their work free from threats and intimidation. The Task Force works with the election community and state and local law enforcement to evaluate allegations and reports of threats against election workers and, where appropriate, has investigated and prosecuted these matters in collaboration with FBI field offices and U.S. Attorney’s offices throughout the country. The task force continues this work and supports U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI field offices nationwide.
Led by the Deputy Attorney General of Monaco, the task force is led by the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division and includes several other units within the Department of Justice, including the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division, the Civil Rights Division, and the National Security Division and the FBI, as well as key interagency partners such as the Department of Homeland Security and the US Postal Inspection Service. For more information about the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, see the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.
To report suspected threats or acts of violence, contact your local FBI office and ask to speak to the Election Crime Coordinator. Contact information for each FBI field office can be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You can also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at www.tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the Task Force and forwarded for appropriate investigation or response. If anyone is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, contact 911 or local police immediately.