Man Pleads Guilty to Election-Related Threat Toward Georgia Public Officials
For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
A Texas man pleaded guilty today in the Northern District of Georgia to posting a message online threatening several Georgia public officials following the 2020 election.
“This case marks another destructive example of threats of violence to the election community and law enforcement,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department will not tolerate the criminal targeting of the men and women responsible for administering our elections and ensuring that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise the most fundamental right in our democracy: the right to vote.”
According to court documents, around Jan. 5, 2021, Chad Christopher Stark, 55, of Leander, posted a message to Craigslist entitled, “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill [Official A] the Chinese agent - $10,000.” The message included the following: “It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment right it’s time to put a bullet in the treasonous Chinese [Official A]. Then we work our way down to [Official B] the local and federal corrupt judges. It’s our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force. . . . If we want our country back we have to exterminate these people. One good loyal Patriot deer hunter in camo and a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors.. milita up Georgia it’s time to spill blood…. we need to pay a visit to [Official C] and her family as well and put a bullet her behind the ears. Remember one thing local law enforcement the key word being local….. we will find you oathbreakers and we’re going to pay your family to visit your mom your dad your brothers and sisters your children your wife… we’re going to make examples of traitors to our country… death to you and all you communist friends.”
“All across this country our fellow citizens and neighbors, including many retirees, choose to serve as elections officials, poll workers, and in other capacities to help ensure free and fair elections in the United States. They serve out of a patriotic duty and appreciation for our nation and deserve to do so without fear of retaliation or threats of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia. “Stark threatened officials working at all levels of the election process including elected office holders and a volunteer poll worker. His egregious conduct placed our democracy in jeopardy, striking at the heart of the process we assume to be insulated from such attacks. Our office will remain steadfast in partnering with federal, state, and local authorities to safeguard those who work to secure our elections.”
“Today’s guilty plea plainly shows that anyone who threatens election officials online will be investigated by the FBI and held accountable for their words” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “We must take calls to violence seriously, whatever their form, especially when they have the potential to result in physical harm and undermine the integrity of U.S. elections.”
Stark pleaded guilty today to one count of a sending a threat using a telecommunications device. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI Atlanta Field Office is investigating the case.
Election Crimes Branch Director of Enforcement and Litigation Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel Brent A. Gray for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting this case.
This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the Department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed, or volunteer – are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI Field Offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Two years after its formation, the task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.
Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Department of Justice, including the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division, the Civil Rights Division, the National Security Division, and the FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.
To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at www.tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.
Updated August 31, 2023
Voting and Elections