Man Sentenced to Prison After Threats to CNN Anchors

Robert Lemke also threatened members of Congress, including on Jan. 6
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2021 8:14 AM CST
Man Sentenced to Prison After Threats to CNN Anchors
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, speaks to reporters at the Capitol, in Washington on Nov. 16, 2021.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – A California man is headed to prison for three years after threatening 50 people who stated that President Biden won the 2020 presidential election, including CNN anchors and members of Congress. "We have armed members near your home," 36-year-old Robert Lemke, who claimed to be part of a crew of active and former military and law enforcement members, told the brother of New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on Jan. 6 as supporters of then-President Trump attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to intervene in the certification of Biden's election win, reports Law & Crime. "Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies," Lemke added, sharing a photo of a home in the brother's neighborhood. He also claimed to know the location of Jeffries' sons.

That same day, Lemke warned a relative of a journalist that he and others were "nearby, armed and ready." Prosecutors didn't name any of the victims Lemke contacted from November 2020 to January 2021, though CNN anchors Don Lemon and Brian Stelter both spoke at Lemke's sentencing hearing Monday, per the New York Daily News. Lemon said he and his fiancé had been targeted. "I am tired of being suspicious of even friendly faces in public," he said. "I am tired of being called names like 'f----t’ and 'n----r' in public by people like Robert Lemke." Stelter said Lemke threatened his family "because I was telling the truth on TV." He said Lemke had sent photos of his father’s grave and described the "nice dense trees" behind his mother's house.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who received threatening messages while at the Capitol on Jan. 6, described being "terrified for my family for weeks thereafter," Stelter writes at CNN. Lemke "acquired and used at least three different phone numbers and various electronic accounts to mask his identity" as he "sought to quell freedom of expression, to intimidate and instill fear in others by threats of violence,” according to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Lemke told the court that he was "sincerely defending" the election against fraud but should have done so while being "compassionate and respectful" rather than "reckless and hateful." The Bay Area resident had faced up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to making threatening interstate communications. (Read more threats stories.)

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