A Queens man accused of posting threats on social media to execute Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other elected officials pleaded not guilty during a virtual arraignment Monday.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen denied a request from attorneys for Brendan Hunt, who has been detained since his Jan. 19 arrest, to release him on his own recognizance. Chen scheduled Hunt’s trial for April 26.
Hunt, a former employee of the New York Office of Court Administration, was charged in January with threat to assault and murder United States officials. A spokesman for the court system said Hunt was terminated immediately after his arrest.
Hunt is also an actor and filmmaker who posts videos and political rants online under the name "X-Ray Ultra." He was active in the 2011-2012 Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, according to his website.
"Trump, we want actual revenge on democrats," Hunt said on Facebook on Dec. 6, referring to former President Donald Trump. "Meaning, we want you to hold a public execution of pelosi aoc schumer etc. And if you don’t do it the, the citizenry will. We’re not voting in another rigged election. Start up the firing squads, mow down these commies and let’s take america back."
Hunt’s public defender Jan Alison Rostal declined to comment Monday. Another Hunt attorney, Leticia Olivera, argued last month that detention was inappropriate because Hunt did not travel to Washington to participate in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Olivera said at a hearing last month that the allegations in charging documents "do not suggest anything other than a plan to make outlandish posts from inside his home."