A staffer for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) testified Monday that he was “very concerned” for the congresswoman’s well-being after her office received death threats from a New York State court employee now on trial for his alleged activities.
Daniel Bonthius, who works in the congresswoman’s Jackson Heights office as a law enforcement liaison, said in Brooklyn Federal Court that he didn’t find out about the threats until the defendant, Brendan Hunt, had already been arrested.
But Bonthius testified he was scared Hunt would act on the alleged threats anyway.
“We have had experiences with people who have already been arrested coming back to our office after the arrest and being additionally threatening,” Bonthius said.
“It’s very concerning,” Bonthius continued. “It specifically targets the congresswoman and therefore gives me concern about my own well-being as well as that of other staff members.”
Hunt, an employee of the New York State Office of Court Administration, is on trial for allegedly threatening to kill Ocasio-Cortez and several other Democratic politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Hunt was arrested on Jan. 19 after posting a video online entitled “Kill Your Senators,” in which he allegedly urged other fellow Trump supporters to return to the U.S. Capitol with weapons after the Jan. 6 attack didn’t prove bloody enough for his deranged taste.
At Monday’s trial session, assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Richardson asked Bonthius about the disturbing 88-second video.
“He doesn’t seem mentally disturbed in that video,” Bonthius said. “He seems calm and ready for the plan and announces to the viewers that the only thing stopping him from taking action is the fact that he doesn’t have a gun himself.”
Hunt’s case is the first Jan. 6-related criminal prosecution to go to trial.
Though Hunt wasn’t at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he allegedly posted a flurry of violent threats on social media before and after the attack.
“Trump, we want actual revenge on democrats,” he wrote in a Dec. 6 rant on social media, according to prosecutors. “Meaning, we want you to hold a public execution of pelosi aoc schumer etc. And if you dont do it, the citizenry will.”