April 29, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A federal jury convicted a Ridgewood man Wednesday for making online threats to kill Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other leading Democrats.
Brendan Hunt, 37, was found guilty in Brooklyn federal court after he called for the death and public executions of Ocasio-Cortez, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a series of online posts and videos he made in December and January.
He also demanded his online followers take up arms and violently overthrow the federal government in the wake of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which he claimed was “rigged.”
“Get your guns, show up to D.C., and literally just spray these m—–f—–s . . . put some bullets in their f——g heads,” he said in a video posted online. “If anybody has a gun, give me it, I’ll go there myself and shoot them and kill them.”
Hunt, who pleaded not guilty, defended his actions by telling the jury that he didn’t think anyone would take his rants seriously and also blamed some of his rhetoric on drug use.
His attorney argued that the charges were overblown and that Hunt’s posts were protected speech.
The jury, however, did not buy it — and sided with the prosecution, who said the threats made were very real.
Hunt made a series of social media posts between Dec. 6 and Jan. 8 where he labeled Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi and Schumer as “high-value target[s],” according to the criminal complaint.
“They really need to be put down,” Hunt posted. “These commies will see death before they see us surrender.”
He also called on former President Donald Trump to hold public executions of the congress members in another post.
“If you don’t do it, the citizenry will,” Hunt wrote. “Start up the firing squads, mow down these commies, and let’s take America back.”
One of the videos he filmed was titled “Kill Your Senators,” which he posted two days after violent rioters stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. Hunt claimed he had been drinking and smoking weed when he posted it, according to CBS News. He did not attend the riot on Jan. 6.
In the video, Hunt encouraged viewers to storm the Capitol a second time — but with guns. He suggested killing legislators during the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
“[W]e need to go back to the U.S. Capitol when all of the Senators and a lot of the Representatives are back there, and this time we have to show up with our guns,” he said. “And we need to slaughter these m—–f—–s.”
Prosecutors also alleged that Hunt espoused white supremacist and anti-Semitic views based on his social media accounts, as well as videos, text messages, emails, and other documents downloaded from his electronic devices.
Hunt, who went by “X-Ray Ultra” online, testified that he wasn’t trying to inspire anyone or intimidate politicians.
At the time of his arrest in January, Hunt was a full-time employee of the New York State Office of Court Administration where he worked as an assistant court analyst in the state’s Attorney Registration Unit. He is the son of a retired New York City family court judge.
He was also a part-time actor and filmmaker, according to court documents.
Hunt will be sentenced on June 22 and faces up to 10 years in prison.
“With today’s verdict, the defendant is now a convicted felon, not for his repugnant, racist rants, but because he threatened to attack and kill members of Congress to prevent them from carrying out their constitutional duties, and that is a federal crime,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko yesterday.
“This Office will not tolerate threats of violence against public officials who are entrusted with upholding the Constitution.”