A man who applied to join the Proud Boys was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in prison after he threatened the life of then-Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock ahead of the Capitol riot in January 2021.
Eduard Florea used the social media app Parler to issue the threats against elected officials, trying to gather others to join him before the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.
"Warnock is going to have a hard time casting votes for communist policies when he's swinging with the f***ing fish," Florea, a resident of Queens, New York, posted on Jan. 5.
"It's time to unleash some violence," he wrote.
Florea pleaded guilty to federal charges of transmitting threats in August. He never traveled to the Capitol, but authorities said his messages sought to contribute to the violence.
"With today's sentence, the defendant faces serious consequences threatening the life of United States Senator Raphael Warnock as part of his effort to foment violence at the Capitol on January 6," said Brean Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Florea, 41, was also convicted of having more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, despite being prohibited from possessing it because of a 2013 felony conviction.
At a court hearing following his arrest, a prosecutor said Florea had told the FBI he'd applied to join the white nationalist group Proud Boys, the New York Times reported. He posted online using an account with the handle LoneWolfWar to issue the threatening messages.
"We need to all come to an agreement. . .and go armed . . .and really take back Washington," he wrote on Jan. 5.
Later that evening, he posted again, writing, "Tomorrow may very [well] be the day war kicks off."
As an angry mob of Trump supporters rushed into the Capitol on Jan. 6, federal officials say Florea posted that he was planning to travel to DC with other armed supporters to join in the violence.
"Guns cleaned loaded," he wrote, "got a bunch of guys all armed and ready to deploy."
Florea was taken into custody on Jan. 12 at his home in Queens.
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