Brendan Hunt convicted of threatening to assault or murder members of Congress

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Federal prosecutors have indicted and tried Hunt, the son of retired New York Family Court judge John Hunt. Brendan Hunt will be sentenced in June and face up to 10 years in prison, the Eastern District said in a statement.

Hunt spoke on Tuesday in his own defense, telling the court he didn’t really think about what he said in videos and messaging apps about the murder of elected officials. Hunt said he didn’t think his rhetoric about killing elected officials could have real criminal consequences because he had seen the prevalence of “kill Trump” rhetoric, especially from celebrities.

Mark Lesko, the acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, welcomed the outcome of the trial on Wednesday.

“With today’s verdict, the accused is now a convicted felon, not for his disgusting and racist speeches, but because he threatened to attack and kill members of Congress to prevent them from fulfill their constitutional obligations, and it is a federal crime, ”Lesko said in a statement. “This office will not tolerate threats of violence against public officials charged with upholding the Constitution.”

Prosecutors argued that Hunt posted videos of himself at his home in Queens in January, discussing the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, threatening to kill senators and encouraging others to return to the Capitol during the day. of the inauguration and to take up their arms.

In a Facebook account registered with HuntBrendan, prosecutors said, Hunt posted his praise in December for people who opposed Covid-19 mitigation protocols – and praised violence against police, but also said people should instead “go after a high value target” like Pelosi, Schumer or Ocasio-Cortez.

The prosecution asked questions during cross-examination about his academic background and intelligence, repeatedly establishing his adulthood. Hunt said he was “a fairly immature 37-year-old” and upon reflection during his time in prison since his arrest in January, he regrets the language he has used.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about it in prison. I’ve been in prison for three months. A lot of it in solitary confinement,” Hunt said. “And I had to understand the fact that a lot of my language was very inappropriate, it was irresponsible, reckless and immature in many ways.”

He blamed his behavior in part on marijuana and heavy drinking while being increasingly isolated in his apartment.

“I had shot this video one night having had a bunch of beers, smoked some weed, had a few bang tears, and I kind of made this spur of the moment video, just spitting out a bit of rhetoric, and I don’t think there was anything wrong at the time, ”Hunt said. “I thought it was kind of fun in a way. And then a day later, I came back with a bit of a sober mind and saw that it didn’t really ignite the dialogue I was hoping to initiate.

Prosecutors had previously shown the jury text messages Hunt allegedly sent to his father last November, around the time of the presidential election. In the series of messages, Hunt reportedly mentioned Adolf Hitler and said that the American people would support then-President Donald Trump if he called off the democratic process like Hitler did to stay president despite the election that appeared to be tilted in favor. of current President Joe Biden. .

When asked about discriminatory rants against his father in private text messages, Hunt testified that he purposely made extreme statements to anger his father, but that he did not actually have any racist beliefs.

“I could have said a racial insult once or twice in my life. But it’s not something I believe,” Hunt said in court. “It’s not something I attribute to. And we said it made him wince a little and make him angry with me almost to see if he would criticize me in any way.

The defense and the prosecution presented their pleadings Tuesday afternoon. The entire trial process lasted eight full days in court.

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