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New York man sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for threatening Sen. Raphael Warnock

Proud Boys supporter Eduard Florea also posted messages encouraging violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Image: Court sketch of Eduard Florea
Eduard Florea at a virtual hearing on weapons charges in a New York court on Jan. 13.Jane Rosenberg / Reuters file

A federal judge sentenced a New York man to nearly three years in prison Thursday for making threats against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

The man, Eduard Florea, 41, pleaded guilty in August to posting statements online threatening to kill Warnock, as well as illegally possessing ammunition. Florea, a Proud Boys supporter from Queens, posted threats against Warnock and other elected officials on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.

"Dead men can't pass s--- laws," Florea wrote of Warnock in a Jan. 6 message posted on Parler, a social media platform popular with conservatives, prosecutors said in court documents. He made a separate reference to Warnock's being dead, prosecutors said.

Warnock won his Senate seat Jan. 5 in a special runoff election.

As the Jan. 6 attack unfolded, Florea posted messages saying, "We need to regroup outside of DC and attack from all sides," and another that said, "Guns cleaned loaded ... got a bunch of guys all armed and ready to deploy."

Government lawyers said Florea's wife told the FBI that he "was in a frenzy to join the attack" and that he had armed himself with knives to travel to Washington, D.C., but that his planned ride did not pick him up.

Prosecutors said Florea attacked his wife in the days after the Capitol riot because she refused to help him raise money for the Proud Boys, one of the far-right groups involved in the Jan. 6 siege.

When the FBI searched Florea's house in Queens that month, agents found more than a thousand rifle and shotgun rounds. He pleaded guilty to illegally possessing the ammunition; he had previously been convicted of a felony.

Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, praised the sentence handed down by Judge Eric R. Komitee, which includes two years of supervised release after Florea's prison term ends.

“With today’s sentence, the defendant faces serious consequences for threatening the life of United States Senator Raphael Warnock as part of his effort to foment violence at the Capital on January 6, 2021 in connection with attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” Peace said in a statement.