On Friday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it had charged a 54-year-old Trump supporter, Chad Stark of Texas, for allegedly sending “threatening election-related communications” targeting Georgia state officials and election workers the day before former President Donald Trump’s attempted coup of January 6, 2021. If convicted, Stark faces a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Along with the bulk of the Republican Party, Stark promoted Trump’s “stolen election” lies following his electoral defeat.
Trump declared that the vote was “rigged” in key battleground states, including Georgia, which he had lost to Joe Biden. Citing everything from “fraudulent mail-in ballots” to supposedly manipulated voting software, Trump, in concert with Republican lawmakers, far-right lawyers and media figures, high-ranking police and military officials and fascist militia groups, sought to overthrow the election and establish a military-backed dictatorship. The plot culminated in the storming of the US Capitol and came within minutes of succeeding.
On the eve of the joint session of Congress to formally certify the Electoral College results, Trump publicly attacked election officials and Republican elements that refused to illegally overturn the vote in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Michigan. This was the context in which Stark posted an online advertisement offering $10,000 to any “Georgia Patriots” willing to “put a bullet” into election officials and politicians who had been denounced by Trump.
The federal indictment quotes Stark’s ad, placed on the Craigslist website, without revealing the names of those specifically targeted for assassination:
Georgia Patriots it’s time for us to take back our state from these Lawless treasonous traitors. It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment right it’s time to put a bullet in the treasonous Chinese [Official A]. Then we work our way down to [Official B] the local and federal corrupt judges. It’s our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force… If we want country back we have to exterminate these people. One good loyal Patriot deer hunter in camo and a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors… militia up Georgia it’s time to spill blood… we need to pay a visit to [Official C] and her family as well and put a bullet [sic] her behind the ears…
Referencing the language of the fascist Oath Keepers militia, 11 of whose members are facing federal charges of seditious conspiracy for their role in the January 6 insurrection, the ad goes on to state:
Remember one thing local law enforcement the key word being local… we will find you oathbreakers… we’re going to make examples of traitors to our country... death to you and all you communist friends.
While their names are redacted in the indictment, the Washington Post identifies two of the targeted officials as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump incited violence against the pair in television appearances, campaign rallies and on social media in the weeks following his electoral defeat.
In a January 2 phone call to Raffensperger, Trump said he wanted the top state election official to “find the 11,780 votes” needed to overcome Biden’s officially certified margin of victory in the state’s popular vote.
The charging of Stark marks the first time anyone has been indicted by the Election Threats Task Force, which was announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland in June 2021. This is despite the fact that Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the task force admitted last week that his team had received “over 850 reports of threats to election officials” since its inception.
Many far-right militia members, former and current police, members of the military, white supremacists and petty-bourgeois elements who stormed the US Capitol in the attempt to overturn the election of Biden have faced few repercussions for their actions in service of Trump’s coup.
The arrest and indictment of Stark for his role in inciting violence against officials who resisted Trump’s coup plot only highlights the failure of the Biden Department of Justice to prosecute would-be Führer Trump or his coup lawyers and congressional co-conspirators. Instead, Biden and the Democrats have sought to cover up the scale of the coup conspiracy and its continuance by the Trump-dominated GOP, while continuing to appeal to their Republican “friends” and “colleagues.”
Meanwhile, Biden has openly adopted Trump’s COVID-19 “herd immunity” policy of mass infection and death, dismantling all safety protocols in order to keep schools and factories open, while terminating the limited restraints on evictions and extensions of jobless benefits enacted in the early stage of the pandemic.
The DoJ has done virtually nothing to prevent far-right elements from harassing, intimidating and threatening school officials and medical workers, who, like election workers and officials, have been the target of fascistic agitation.
Charges were finally announced last week after a December 30 assault on a vaccination clinic in Orange County, California. Thomas Apollo, a 44-year-old man, was arrested last Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of battery and resisting arrest for attacking medical workers at a vaccination clinic.
The disturbed man allegedly accused medical workers of being “murderers” and refused to wear a mask before assaulting two medical assistants. After being arrested and transported to a nearby hospital, Apollo allegedly tried to break a nurse’s finger and then sexually assault her.
Last week, a 42-year-old Virginia woman, Amelia King, was charged by the Luray Police Department and released on a low $5,000 bond after making death threats during last Thursday’s Page County School Board meeting. King, who has a photo of herself on her Facebook page posing with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, threatened to come to school with her “gun loaded” in opposition to a proposed mask mandate.