A Queens, N.Y. man who allegedly made repeated threats to murder Democratic members of Congress on social media, including threats to murder them at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, was arrested Tuesday morning by FBI agents and NYPD officers.
Brendan Hunt of Ridgewood, Queens, a former Occupy Wall Street activist and part-time filmmaker and actor, was charged with knowingly making threats to murder U.S. officials based on posts he allegedly made in December and January on Facebook, Bitchute and Parler, sometimes under the alias “X-Ray Ultra."
The son of a retired Queens family court judge, Hunt has worked for the New York state Office of Court Administration since 2016 as an assistant court analyst, according to a spokesperson for the office. He was suspended without pay following his arrest Tuesday. Blog posts on his website from 2011 feature articles and photos of the Occupy Wall Street protests, in which Hunt identified himself as a member of the drum circle in several photos. Nearly a decade later, he called President-elect Joe Biden a communist on social media while inciting others to take up arms during the inauguration, according to the FBI.
On Dec. 6, Hunt made several Facebook posts about killing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York. In one post, he wrote that he wanted Trump to “hold a public execution of Pelosi aoc schumer etc.,” according to court documents.
After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by Trump supporters, according to the complaint, Hunt used two social media platforms frequented by far-right extremists to threaten to kill the same three Democrats during Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
His alleged "xyrayultra" account on Bitchute — a lightly moderated video uploading site preferred by right-wing extremists — posted a short video titled “KILL YOUR SENATORS” on Jan. 8. In the video, Hunt spoke directly to the camera saying, “[T]hey’re gonna come after us, they’re gonna kill us, so we have to kill them first . . . [S]o get your guns, show up to D.C. ... If anybody has a gun, give me it, I’ll go there myself and shoot them and kill them.”
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
A few days later, Hunt allegedly made a similar comment on a post on Parler, an alternative social media platform that drew conservatives but also far-right extremists. Parler went offline the weekend following the Capitol riot after being cut off by major service providers that accused it of failing to police violent content.
In response to a Parler post saying Americans must act responsibly now, attributed by the FBI to now-pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Hunt again threatened the inauguration, according to the complaint. An account tied to the same email address as Hunt's Facebook profile commented "lets go, jan 20, bring your guns."
Hunt was taken into custody Tuesday morning and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Hunt is not currently represented by counsel.