A Queens man charged with threatening to kill a slew of Democratic members of Congress in online rants once told a relative, “I’ll stick a knife in your kid,” federal prosecutors alleged in court Wednesday.
The disturbing allegation was disclosed during a bail hearing for Brendan Hunt, 37, after his lawyers argued he was just blowing off steam when he called for the public execution of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But Assistant US Attorney David Kessler countered by alleging that Hunt, who has no criminal record, has a history of violent outbursts and should be detained to protect the community.
On Dec. 14 — about a week after Hunt used the alias “X-ray Ultra” to post social media messages calling for firing squads for top elected Democrats — he got into an argument with a relative who had unfriended him on Facebook, Kessler said.
“The dispute ended with the defendant writing, ‘You are full of it. I have nothing further to say to you, and if you text me again, I’ll stick a knife in your kid,’” the prosecutor told US Magistrate Judge Pamela Chen during the virtual hearing in Brooklyn federal court.
Kessler added that Hunt, who formerly worked at the NY Office of Court Administration, has had three run-ins at the Metropolitan Detention Center since he was arrested in January and held without bail.
One confrontation allegedly involved Hunt “screaming and cursing at an MDC employee who asked if he needed any psychological services,” Kessler said.
In 2007 and 2014, his parents called the cops on him during arguments that allegedly turned physical. But his dad, John Hunt, a former Queens County Family Court judge, insisted those incidents didn’t escalate beyond shoving. He said he believed his son’s abuse of marijuana and alcohol led to his unhinged online rants.
“I have no doubt if my son is released, he’ll abide by any orders you issue,” he said in court.
Defense lawyer Leticia Olivera wrote in a motion pushing for Hunt’s release that his fanciful online posts are “more consistent with intoxication than insurrection.”
“Mr. Hunt engaged in no actual planning … that would be consistent with a plan or belief that he could actually effectuate a ‘firing squad’ or ‘public execution’ of Members of Congress and replace them with ‘actual patriots,’” she wrote.
Olivera argued that his online statements “are covered by the First Amendment’s broad protections for offensive, caustic, and even violent political speech.”
After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Hunt allegedly posted a video calling on Americans to assassinate senators and complained about a “Zionist occupied government,” according to court papers.
He’s charged with threatening to assault and murder a US official.
Chen is scheduled to rule Friday on whether to release Hunt.