Speed Reads


California man arrested, accused of sending threatening messages to brother of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

On the same day a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier this month, the brother of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) received threatening text messages from a person who told him the lawmaker was "putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words," the congressman's office confirmed on Tuesday.

The incident was included in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan. According to the document, Jeffries' brother, Hasan Jeffries, was told via text on Jan. 6 there were "active/retired law enforcement or military" members who were "armed and nearby your house." He was also warned he "better have a word" with his brother, as they were "not far" from his house either. One of the messages included a picture of a home in Hasan Jeffries' neighborhood.

On Tuesday, federal authorities arrested Robert Lemke, 35, of Bay Point, California, and charged him with sending the messages to Jeffries. The criminal complaint says on Jan. 6, Lemke also sent threatening texts to a relative of a person referred to as "Journalist-1." A person with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times "Journalist-1" is ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, and the relative was told his "words are putting you and your family at risk. We are nearby armed and ready." Stephanopoulos declined to comment.

Lemke faces one count of threatening interstate communications; if found guilty, he could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison. The Times reports that on Facebook, Lemke said he served as a captain in the Air Force and is a former sergeant with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, but a spokesman for the department said he never worked there and a spokeswoman for the Air Force confirmed there is no record showing he ever served.

The criminal complaint says Lemke was vocal about the results of the presidential election, writing at one point on Facebook, "Folks. Be ready for war. Trump has refused to cede." Read more at The New York Times.