A 37-year-old New Yorker who’s on trial for threats to lawmakers before and after the U.S. Capitol riot told his father that he wanted President Donald Trump to declare martial law, like Adolf Hitler did in Germany, according to prosecutors.
Fervent Trump supporter Brendan Hunt was an apparent disciple of Nazi ideals and right-wing conspiracy theories, prosecutors said Thursday at his federal trial, which is the first one to deal with the fallout from the Capitol attack.
Hunt, a Queens resident, is charged with threatening to assault and murder U.S. officials. Prosecutors say his targets included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
He posted a video on social media Jan. 8 encouraging his viewers to return to the U.S. Capitol after the riot with their guns to “kill your senators … slaughter them all,” according to the complaint against him. If convicted, Hunt could face up to 10 years in prison.
“Trump should just declare martial law, cancel the transfer of power and round up the domestic enemies of our Republic,” Hunt told his father, John Hunt, a retired Queens family court judge, according to a text message in November presented in Brooklyn federal court. “The military and the American people will back him.”
During “Hitler’s first term in office, circumstances were such that it was necessary for him to override the democratic process and become the absolute leader of his country,” Hunt told his father in a text read by an FBI agent in court. “Trump should prob do the same if necessary.”
He also texted his girlfriend about reading Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf,” Courthouse News Service reported.
In one of his videos posted on social media, presented to the jury on Friday, Hunt talked about how to encode words in messages.
“If I want to talk about who runs the world,” he’d call it “juice,” Hunt explained. “I don’t want to kill the juice just yet,” he added.
In his social media posts, Hunt also encouraged armed extremists to return to Washington on Inauguration Day to challenge the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden by violently overthrowing the government, prosecutors said.
In opening arguments Wednesday, Hunt’s lawyer, Jan Rostal, said that his Internet messages were constitutionally protected speech and were not intended to be taken seriously. She said his social media posts were not real threats, The Washington Post reported.