Sunday April 14, 2024

Judges in Trump-related cases face unprecedented wave of threats

March 01, 2024
Donald Trump at the CPAC meeting in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 24. — AFP File
Donald Trump at the CPAC meeting in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 24. — AFP File

WASHINGTON: US District Judge Royce Lamberth has been threatened by angry criminals. Drug cartels. Even al- Qaeda.

But nothing, Lamberth says, prepared him for the wave of harassment after he began hearing cases against supporters of former president Donald Trump who attacked the US Capitol in a bid to overturn the 2020 election.

Right-wing websites painted Lamberth, appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, as part of a “deep state” conspiracy to destroy Trump and his followers. Calls for his execution cropped up on Trump-friendly websites.

“Traitors get ropes,” one wrote. After he issued a prison sentence to a 69-year-old Idaho womanwho pleaded guilty to joining the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, his chambers’ voicemail filled with death threats. One man found Lamberth’s home phone number and called repeatedly with graphic vows to murder him.

“I could not believe how many death threats I got,” Lamberth told Reuters, revealing the calls to his home for the first time.

As Trump faces a welter of indictments and lawsuits ahead of this year’s election, his loyalists have been waging a campaign of threats and intimidation at judges, prosecutors and other court officials, according to a Reuters review of threat data compiled by the US Marshals Service, posts on right-wing message boards, and interviews with more than two dozen law-enforcement agents, judicial officials and legal experts.