Middle Village man pleads guilty to posting online threats to kill members of Congress

FILE PHOTO: Court sketch of Eduard Florea
Middle Village resident Eduard Florea pleads guilty in federal court to posting threatening statements connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (Sketch by REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

A Middle Village man who was arrested just days after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, admitted Monday, Aug. 16, to posting threats to kill members of Congress and illegally possessing a huge cache of ammunition.

Proud Boys supporter Eduard Florea, 41, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollack to one count of transmitting threats to injure and one count of possessing ammunition after having been convicted of a felony.

Florea, a software engineer and father of two, was taken into custody on the night of Jan. 12 after the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force raided his home of 76th Street off Eliot Avenue.

According to court filings, Florea posted threatening statements online about killing officials, including now-U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and committing other acts of violence in Washington, D.C., in connection with the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. On the morning of Jan. 5, Florea posted, “We need to all come to an agreement…and go armed…and really take back Washington.” A few minutes laters, Florea posted, “Tomorrow may very [well] be the day war kicks off…”

At 11:53 p.m. the same day, Florea posted, “Warnock is going to have a hard time casting votes for communist policies when he’s swinging with the f***ing fish.” In the early morning hours of Jan. 6, Florea referenced Senator Warnock and stated, “Dead men can’t pass sh*t laws.”

After the assault on Capitol Hill had begun, Florea posted that he intended to travel to Washington, D.C., as part of a group armed with firearms ready to engage in additional violence.

Police attempt to clear the U.S. Capitol Building with tear gas as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather outside, in Washington, U.S. Jan. 6, 2021. (REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo)

Between approximately 2 and 6 p.m. — while the Capitol was under siege — Florea posted the following messages, among others:

  • “Mine are ready….I am ready…. we need to regroup outside of DC and attack from all sides… talking to some other guys….I will keep watching for the signal.”
  • “I am awaiting my orders…armed and ready to deploy….”
  • “Guns cleaned loaded . . . got a bunch of guys all armed and ready to deploy . . . we are just waiting for the word”
  • “There 3 car full of armed patriots heading in from NY….”
  • “Me and some guys are gearing up to head in. . . . where are you . . . 3 cars already are enroute . . . .all armed.”
  • “It’s time to unleash some violence.”

“With today’s plea, Florea admits to threatening the life of a successful candidate for the U.S. Senate and to urging others to take up arm to unleash violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to thwart the results of the presidential election,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis said. “This office is deeply committed to protecting our democratic institutions and to using all available tools to preserve the public safety, uphold the rule of law and support the peaceful transfer of power.”

When the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force executed the search warrant at Florea’s Middle Village home on Jan. 12, investigators found more than 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, over 20 rounds of shotgun ammunition, 72 military-style combat knives, two swords and two hatchets in his possession, according to federal prosecutors. Florea had been previously convicted of a New York state firearms-related felony after police found a stockpile of weapons at his Staten Island home in 2014. He served a year in prison and later moved to Middle Village.

The estimated sentencing guidelines are 15 to 21 months in prison and sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 29. Florea has been detained in a Brooklyn jail since his arrest in January.