Washington — A New York man pleaded guilty Monday to posting threatening statements online about killing Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia around the time of the.
The Justice Department said Eduard Florea, 41, of Queens, also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing ammunition after having been convicted of a felony. Federal law enforcement officers found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition during a search of his home on January 12, according to court filings.
He faces up to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced November 29.
Florea made his violent comments on the social media site Parler and posted under the name “LoneWolfWar,” federal prosecutors said. On January 5, one day before a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol, Florea posted “Warnock is going to have a hard time casting votes for communist policies when he’s swinging with the f**king fish.”
Then, just after midnight on January 6, he wrote of Warnock, “Dead men can’t pass s**t laws.”
Warnockin Georgia’s Senate runoff election January 5, defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, the incumbent. His win, along with Democrat Jon Ossoff’s victory over Republican Senator David Perdue in the state’s other runoff election, handed Democrats control of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.
Warnock and Ossoff were both sworn in on January 20.
In addition to posting violent threats about Warnock, Florea also wrote on Parler on January 5 that “We need to all come to an agreement … and go armed … and really take back Washington,” according to court records. He posted minutes later that “Tomorrow may very [well] be the day war kicks off…”
On the afternoon of January 6, after the attack on the Capitol had begun, Florea posted on Parler that he planned to go to Washington, D.C., writing in part that there were “3 cars of armed patriots heading into DC from NY” and “Guns cleaned loaded … got a bunch of guys all armed and ready to deploy … we are just waiting for the word.”
Florea did not ultimately travel to Washington on January 6, according to court filings.
Florea’s guilty plea comes as federal prosecutors continue investigating the violent assault on the Capitol, when Mr. Trump’s supporters attempted to stop Congress from reaffirming President Biden’s victory. In the months since January 6, more thanhave been arrested in connection with the attack, though prosecutors said in July hundreds more have yet to be identified.
At least 83 of the alleged rioters are tied to extremist groups and ideologies, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Texas Freedom Force and the online conspiracy theory QAnon.