A California man who claimed to be Air Force veteran and former police officer online was charged in New York on Tuesday with threatening family members of an unidentified congressman and a journalist over statements they made about the 2020 presidential election.
The suspect, 35-year-old Robert Lemke, of Bay Point, Calif., allegedly threatened the congressman’s brother in a text message the same day a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him,” Lemke allegedly wrote in the text message.
“We are not far from his either … your words have consequences. Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president,” he added in another to the congressman’s brother.
On the same day, Lemke also allegedly texted a family member of an unidentified journalist while she was in the Bronx, the complaint states.
“[The journalist’s] words are putting you and your family at risk. We are nearby armed and ready. Thousands of us are active/retired law enforcement, military, etc. That’s how we do it,” he wrote to the journalist’s relative, according to the complaint.
After the threats were reported, investigators tracked down details about Lemke’s phone and his social media accounts.
On his social media accounts, Lemke claimed to be an Air Force veteran and a retired sergeant in the Alameda Sheriff’s Office, prosecutors wrote in the complaint.
In a tweet, the Alameda Sheriff’s Office denied he ever worked there.
“There is very false information on social media that a Robert Lemke worked for the Alameda County Sheriff. This information has proven to be untrue by the FBI and our agency,” it wrote in the tweet.