NEW YORK (Reuters) — A Proud Boys supporter pleaded guilty on Monday to making social media threats tied to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including a threat to kill an incoming U.S. senator.
The defendant, Eduard Florea, also admitted to storing a large collection of ammunition at his home in the New York City borough of Queens.
Florea, 41, a software engineer and father of two, entered his plea at a remote hearing before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak in federal court in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors said Florea used the moniker “LoneWolfWar” on Parler, a social media platform used by conservatives, to make threats before and during the riot, where supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election win.
Florea, who did not attend the riot, allegedly referred to current Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia as a “dead” man.
Prosecutors said he also wrote while the Capitol was under siege: “I am awaiting my orders … armed and ready to deploy” and, “It’s time to unleash some violence.”
An FBI search of Florea’s home in Queens later uncovered more than 900 rounds of ammunition, 72 military-style combat knives, two hatchets and two swords, prosecutors said.
Federal guidelines recommend that Florea spend 15 to 21 months in prison, but prosecutors intend to seek a longer term at his sentencing, scheduled Nov. 29. The defendant has been detained in a Brooklyn jail since January.
Florea’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A remote public connection to Monday’s hearing failed before Florea entered his plea.
The Proud Boys are a far-right group that has supported violence and endorsed Trump.
Federal prosecutors in Washington said they were in preliminary talks with several Proud Boys defendants on possible pleas this month.
More than 570 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Trump has falsely claimed that Biden’s win resulted from widespread voting fraud.
- CDC endorses COVID booster for millions of older Americans
- Where is Brian Laundrie? All-star panel weighs in.
- Migrant crisis, unruly passengers and Donald Trump’s recent public statements
- House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump advisers, associates
- Grocery store shooting leaves two dead, including gunman; Mother of Jelani Day searches for answers
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021.