CNN’s Don Lemon and Brian Stelter both testified at the sentencing of a 36-year-old Bay Point man who threatened to kill CNN hosts, their parents, and their children over the network's lack of faith in Trump’s claims about the 2020 election results.
Back in January, in the weeks after the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the Biden inauguration that it failed to prevent, we brought you the news of a 36-year-old Bay Point man making death threats against Democrats in Congress and their families. That man was Robert Lemke, and it turns out his phone contacts (actually at least three burner phones and their contacts) had the direct numbers of several high-ranking people in Congress and the media.
At the time, Lemke was accused of texting the brother of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and saying, “Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words. We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him." But we now know he was similarly texting ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, and CNN hosts Don Lemon and Briat Stelter. That’s because both Lemon and Stelter testified against Lemke at his sentencing, according to a Washington Post report reprinted on SFGate, and Lemke was sentenced to three years in prison.
Lemke’s M.O. was apparently to find incredibly detailed family information on Congressional Democrats and members of the media (he sent threats to 50 such people), and the engage in some “I’m right next door” or “I’m nearby” threats to get them to stop reporting the inconvenient fact that Trump had lost. One such message read, "We are nearby, armed and ready. Thousands of us are active/retired law enforcement, military, etc. That's how we do it."
(Another part of his M.O. was to claim he was a former Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, forcing that department to issue a correction clarifying that nope, nope, this guy was never, ever a deputy here.)
Brian Stelter wrote a personal essay about his experience with Lemke posted Monday to CNN. “The messages [from Lemke] invoked my family members — my brother, my mother, and my father,” Stelter said. “One of the voice messages said ‘you can either choose to dig the hole deeper or stop digging, because we're not fucking around.’ One of the texts included a photo of my father's grave site. Another text described my mother's house, implying he was there.”
Lemke was sentenced to not only three years in prison, but three years of supervision after release.