A New York state court employee was charged with threatening to murder a US official after he made online posts threatening to kill several high-level Democratic members of Congress, according to a complaint from the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.
Brendan Hunt, who goes by “X-Ray Ultra” on social media and his personal website, posted several times on various social media sites since December saying that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US Sen. Charles Schumer and US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be killed, and even called for a public execution, according to the complaint.
“And if you dont do it, the citizenry will,” Hunt allegedly said in a Facebook post on December 6. “We’re not voting in another rigged election. Start up the firing squads, mow down these commies, and lets (sic) take america back!”
The complaint identifies Hunt as a part-time actor and filmmaker and a full-time employee of the New York State Office of Court Administration.
New York State Unified Court spokesman Lucian Chalfen confirmed to CNN that Hunt worked as an assistant court analyst in the Attorney Registration Unit. He will be suspended without pay pending further administrative action, Chalfen said.
Hunt, of Queens, New York, is also the son of retired New York City Family Court Judge John M. Hunt, Chalfen said.
The complaint does not say if Brendan Hunt attended the Capitol riot on January 6.
He was arrested Tuesday morning and in federal court was ordered to be detained until trial due to the “nature and circumstance of the offense,” a magistrate judge ruled.
The charge comes amid heightened security in Washington, DC and at state capitols across the country as law enforcement officials have warned of the potential for violent unrest leading up to and on Inauguration Day, particularly among some hard-right extremists who falsely believe Joe Biden’s election is illegitimate.
Hunt allegedly advocated for just that. On January 8, two days after the takeover at the Capitol, he allegedly posted a video to the website BitChute titled “KILL YOUR SENATORS” that allegedly shows him speaking to the camera.
“We need to go back to the U.S. Capitol when all of the Senators and a lot of the Representatives are back there” and “slaughter these m*therf**kers,” Hunt said, according to the complaint.
“[O]ur government at this point is basically a handful of traitors … So what you need to do is take up arms, get to D.C., probably the inauguration … so called inauguration of this m*therf**king communist Joe Biden … [T]hat’s probably the best time to do this, get your guns, show up to D.C., and literally just spray these m*therf**kers … like, that’s the only option.”
In federal court Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kessler argued as reasons for his detainment that Hunt is a flight risk and has limited ties to the community, as well as a history of mental illness.
His attorney Leticia Olivera said he has no criminal record and is not a member of any militias or paramilitary groups.
“Without seeking to undermine the seriousness of the allegations in the complaint, there is no allegation here that Mr. Hunt has a history of abuse or ownership of weapons,” Olivera said. “He has no plans to travel to Washington, DC, to purchase weapons or to actually even come into contact with any federal officials much less anything that could cause them physical harm.”
Olivera declined to comment any further to CNN on the case.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that John M. Hunt is an active New York City family court judge. He is retired.
CNN’s Brynn Gingras and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.