United States

Guilty plea for Proud Boys supporter over Jan. 6 Capitol riot threats

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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo

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NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - A Proud Boys supporter pleaded guilty on Monday to making social media threats tied to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including a threat to kill an incoming U.S. senator.

The defendant, Eduard Florea, also admitted to storing a large collection of ammunition at his home in the New York City borough of Queens.

Florea, 41, a software engineer and father of two, entered his plea at a remote hearing before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak in federal court in Brooklyn.

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Prosecutors said Florea used the moniker "LoneWolfWar" on Parler, a social media platform used by conservatives, to make threats before and during the riot, where supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's presidential election win.

Florea, who did not attend the riot, allegedly referred to current Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia as a "dead" man.

Prosecutors said he also wrote while the Capitol was under siege: "I am awaiting my orders ... armed and ready to deploy" and "It's time to unleash some violence."

An FBI search of Florea's home in Queens later uncovered more than 900 rounds of ammunition, 72 military-style combat knives, two hatchets and two swords, prosecutors said. read more

Federal guidelines recommend that Florea spend 15 to 21 months in prison, but prosecutors intend to seek a longer term at his sentencing, scheduled Nov. 29. The defendant has been detained in a Brooklyn jail since January.

Florea's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A remote public connection to Monday's hearing failed before Florea entered his plea.

The Proud Boys are a far-right group that has supported violence and endorsed Trump. read more

Federal prosecutors in Washington said this month they were in preliminary talks with several Proud Boys defendants on possible pleas. [nL1N2P929Q}

More than 570 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Trump has falsely claimed that Biden's win resulted from widespread voting fraud.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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