A Texas man accused of posting a message on Craigslist after the 2020 election calling on “patriots” in Georgia to “put a bullet” in three government officials has pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge.
Chad Stark and his attorney appeared briefly by video Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell Vineyard in Atlanta. Stark, 54, pleaded not guilty to one count of communicating interstate threats. He remains free on bond.
The Justice Department has said Stark’s prosecution was the first criminal case brought by its new Election Threats Task Force that was created last summer. According to prosecutors, Stark posted a message on Jan. 5, 2021, titled: “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill (Official A) the Chinese agent - $10,000.”
The message stated, “Georgia Patriots it’s time for us to take back our state from these Lawless treasonous traitors.” It goes on to urge Georgia residents to “militia up” and calls for shooting the three officials as well as “corrupt” local and federal judges.
Prosecutors did not name the officials in documents filed in federal court in Georgia.
Former President Donald Trump has made repeated false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election, and some of his supporters have targeted election officials and workers in Georgia and elsewhere, making violent threats against them.