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Saturday, December 9, 2023
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Feds arraign 72-year-old who threatened to kill Trump

The septuagenarian suspect is said to have taunted Secret Service agents: "Oh, yeah, that’s a threat, come and arrest me."

BROOKLYN (CN) — A federal magistrate judge ordered home confinement for a Queens man arraigned Monday on the charge of threatening the life of former President Donald Trump. 

“I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I will stand up to fascism,” Thomas Welnicki told Capitol police during a voluntary interview in July 2020 after making repeated phone calls to Secret Service field offices and U.S. Capitol Police in which he said he could easily arm himself and would “take out” Trump.

At 72, Welnicki is three years younger than former president, whom he would sometimes reference as “Hitler” in the phone threats placed before and after the 2020 election. Both men are also from Queens, with Welnicki hailing from a section called Rockaway Beach.

“I really hope that God takes [Individual-1] out," Welnicki said of Trump, according to the 5-page complaint unsealed on Monday, which redacts the former president's name.

The filing includes excerpts from 10 separate calls and voicemails, including at least one call in which Welnicki admits to having made previous calls. 

“I am going to do anything I can to take out [Individual-1]. Oh yeah that’s a threat, come and arrest me. I will do anything I can to take out [Individual-1] and his 12 monkeys. ... If I had the opportunity to do it in Manhattan that would be awesome,” Welnicki is quoted as saying in a January 4, 2021, voicemail left at the Secret Service’s Long Island Resident Office.

Welnicki went on in that call to say he would “maybe” travel to Georgia, believing that Trump would be there, and claimed that there was a $350,000 reward out to kill the former president. 

In other calls, Welnicki allegedly asked about what weapons the Secret Service uses, and said he would do “everything I can” to make end Trump's life. 

He told agents that “the new Civil war could break out and taking up arms against the government is justified when ballots don’t matter,” and that he previously owned a .22-caliber gun, as quoted in the complaint. 

During his virtual arraignment on Monday, Welnicki claimed he doesn’t, in fact, have any firearms. He said the bail condition preventing him from possessing such weapons “is not an issue to me.” 

“I’m not able to possess any firearms, which i haven’t in —” he began, before cutting himself short and saying, “I understand the terms.” 

He was released on a $50,000 bond secured by his brother. 

“My attorney has explained very well to me my obligations to — to come to court, and to do the things that are necessary to remain out in a free world,” Welnicki said. “As long as I don’t violate these conditions, then I’ll be outside.” 

As part of his bail package, Welnicki agreed to undergo alcohol and mental health treatments. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon also ordered location monitoring during Welnicki’s at-home detention, despite attorney Dierdre von Dornum noting that her client had not left New York City in 15 years — and calling it a “greater than necessary infringement on his liberty” that would make it difficult for him to comply with mental health treatments.

Welnicki’s calls to the Secret Service led to at least three meetings with agents over the past year. 

“If there were any actual danger here, I am certain that they would have arrested him sooner,” said von Dornum, of the New York Federal Defenders. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Zapana said there is a “lingering concern” about Welnicki’s alleged threats.

“We do believe that the nature of these cries are serious, they are dangerous, it is difficult to imagine talking about a $300,000 award on the killing of government officials,” he said.  

Welnicki’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.

Follow @NinaPullano
Categories / Criminal, National, Politics

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