Man with assault rifle pleads guilty to threatening Pelosi
A Georgian who had an assault rifle and was heading to Washington for the pro-Trump rally on January 6 at the United States Capitol pleaded guilty on Friday to sending threatening texts against the Speaker of the House , Nancy Pelosi.
The man, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., wrote to an acquaintance the day after the violent attack on the United States Capitol that he would “put a bullet in his noggin on live television” and include a purple devil emoji , said federal authorities. In other messages, he said he would crush Ms. Pelosi.
“I predict that in 12 days many in our country will die,” he wrote.
Mr Meredith had stayed at a Holiday Inn in Washington and had weapons in his camper-style trailer, including a Glock handgun, a Tavor X95 assault rifle and thousands of rounds, according to court records.
Mr Meredith was one of the first 13 people to be indicted in federal court after a crowd in support of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol. He was charged in January with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, possession of an unregistered firearm and illegal possession of ammunition, court records show.
Mr. Meredith has pleaded guilty to the interstate communication charge and faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.
Under a plea deal, he could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $ 75,000, according to court documents. His sentencing is scheduled for December. Messages left with his lawyer, Paul Kiyonaga, were not immediately returned on Saturday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mr. Meredith erected a billboard in 2018 in Acworth, Georgia that read “#QANON” along with his company name, Car Nutz Car Wash.
The QAnon conspiracy theory, which the FBI has called a potential threat of domestic terrorism, accuses Democrats and some Republicans of being beholden to a cabal of entrenched political insiders, pedophiles and Satanists. Many followers believe that Mr. Trump was secretly fighting a criminal group of sex traffickers.
Mr Meredith had missed the Capitol Riot himself because he arrived too late in Washington while driving from Colorado, he told investigators.
The Journal-Constitution reported that U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked Mr. Meredith on Friday if he wrote a text threatening to kill Ms. Pelosi.
“It was political hyperbole,” Meredith told the judge. “But I texted that.”
Federal officials have said they are committed to holding to account anyone responsible for “scandalous criminal acts” related to the assault on Capitol Hill.
“To be clear, what happened that day was not a First Amendment protected activity, but rather an affront to our democracy,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in January after that Mr. Meredith and others have been charged. “We will continue to aggressively investigate every person who has chosen to ignore the law and incite violence, destroy property and injure others.”