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Man charged with making election-related threats to Georgia officials

CBS News logo CBS News 1/21/2022 Jeff Pegues
US-VOTE-POLITICS-SENATE © TAMI CHAPPELL US-VOTE-POLITICS-SENATE

A Texas man was arrested Friday and indicted on charges that allege he posted threatening, election-related communications to Georgia government officials, according to court records and the Justice Department. 

Chad Christopher Stark, 54, of Leander, Texas, is accused of using the online forum Craigslist to target multiple government officials, including Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a federal law enforcement source confirms to CBS News. 

"Georgia Patriots it's time for us to take back our state from these Lawless treasonous traitors," Stark allegedly wrote on Craigslist on Jan. 5 2021, court documents reveal, "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."

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Prosecutors say Stark took to Craigslist to target at least three government officials, writing, "It's our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force we can no longer wait on the corrupt law enforcement in the corrupt courts. If we want our country back we have to exterminate these people," 

Stark allegedly threatened "oathbreakers," writing: "We're going to pay your family to visit your mom your dad your brothers and sisters your children your wife,  we're going to make examples of traitors to our country… death to you and all you communist friends."

Friday's indictment is the first from the Justice Department's Election Threats Task Force, put together by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisas Monaco to confront threats against election workers following the contentious 2020 presidential election. 

In a call with reporters following Stark's arrest, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said the Election Threats Task Force has received approximately 850 referrals for potentially harassing or offensive statements and has opened dozens of investigations. 

"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," Garland said in a release following the arrest, "The department's Election Threats Task Force, working with partners across the country, will hold accountable those who violate federal law by using violence or threatening violence to target election workers fulfilling their public duties."

Stark was set to appear in a Texas federal courthouse Friday afternoon.

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