Man charged with threatening the lives of Nevada election workers
A Las Vegas man is facing federal charges alleging he threatened the lives of state election workers he accused of “stealing the election.”
Gjergi Luke Juncaj pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Thursday following his arrest on an indictment stemming from four phone calls allegedly made within 18 minutes after 8 a.m. on January 7 at the office of the Nevada Secretary of State.
The day before the calls, the nation marked the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump and supporters of the false claim that the November 2020 election of the Democrat Joe Biden had been robbed.
Juncaj’s Federal Public Defender, Aden Kebede, declined to comment on Friday.
The indictment filed January 19 and unsealed on Thursday quotes Juncaj as saying, “I want to thank you for such a good job that you all did to steal the election. I hope you all go to jail for treason. The woman who received the call is identified by initials in the court document.
Juncaj also reportedly said he hoped “the worker’s children would be molested”, and that the woman and others in her office “were all going to die”.
The calls stopped after a Nevada State Police officer called Juncaj’s number back. Juncaj allegedly complained of being harassed and cut off the call, according to the indictment.
“At no time (…) Juncaj disclosed his identity,” the document reads.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth Polite told reporters on Friday that the Nevada case was the second brought by an election threats task force created last summer by the Justice Department.
Polite said the task force had reviewed more than 850 reports of threats against election officials and had dozens of criminal investigations opened.
A Justice Department statement on Juncaj’s case said the task force’s goal is “to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed or volunteer – are able to do their work without threats or intimidation”.
In Texas, Chad Stark, 54, made a first appearance Jan. 21 in federal court for communicating interstate threats.
Stark is accused of posting messages on Craigslist urging Georgians to “go militia” after the 2020 election and calling for the shooting of several unnamed officials and local and federal judges in that state.
Nevada prosecutors said Juncaj was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday and also used the names Gjurgi Juncaj and George Juncaj.
An investigating judge placed him in house arrest pending his trial, scheduled for March 28.
Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.