A criminal complaint was filed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Brendan Hunt, also known as “X-Ray Ultra,” with threatening to murder United States officials.
Hunt was arrested this morning in Queens and made his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., who ordered the defendant detained pending trial.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrest and charge.
“Our democracy depends on the legislators who shoulder the responsibility of government. By allegedly threatening to murder and intimidate elected officials, Hunt is striking at the core of our government,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office will aggressively disrupt such conduct and prosecute offenders like the defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Before the assault on the Capitol building, and again after, Hunt’s alleged online commentary directly called for the assassination of members of Congress. This is not a hard message to understand –threats of violence against our public officials won’t be tolerated. Mr. Hunt was arrested this morning by the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force. To others from this area who still don’t get it – if you are considering a similar path to ‘take up arms’ like Mr. Hunt did, that road leads nowhere except a reservation at our building downtown,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
Mr. DuCharme and Mr. Sweeney praised the outstanding work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force on the case.
As alleged in the complaint, on January 8, 2021, two days after the riot in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Hunt posted a video to an Internet-based video sharing site in which he exhorted his viewers to violence, urging them that: “[w]e need to go back to the U.S. Capitol when all of the Senators and a lot of the Representatives are back there, and this time we have to show up with our guns. And we need to slaughter these m—–f——.”
The video was one in a series of statements by Hunt posted on social media since at least December 6, 2020, in which he called for violence and “public execution” against members of Congress.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Hunt faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys David K. Kessler, Ian C. Richardson and Francisco J. Navarro are in charge of the prosecution.