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US: Cops, FBI probe threats to Colorado judges in Trump ballot case, increase vigilance around their houses

2023-12-27 01:44:36

Colorado authorities are investigating possible threats against state Supreme Court justices, Denver police said on Tuesday, one week after the court barred former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot.

The FBI said it was assisting local law enforcement in the investigation.

The Denver Police Department also said it was providing “extra patrols” around the homes of the justices, who ruled 4-3 on Dec. 19 that Trump should be disqualified under a little-known clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment for engaging in insurrection.

Two nights later, Denver police officers were dispatched to the home of one of the justices in response to a call for service that police afterward described as an apparent “hoax report,” adding they were still investigating the incident.

Republican strategists have suggested the Colorado ballot ruling, likely headed for a U.S. Supreme Court appeal, would spark a backlash among political conservatives by reinforcing the narrative that Trump is the victim of a partisan legal process.

NBC News and other media outlets have since reported the emergence of violent rhetoric on right-wing online forums from Trump supporters aimed at the four Colorado justices who sided against him.

The posts in question, according to news reports, included messages calling for the justices’ personal information to be publicly exposed, and an apparent reference to the judges that said: “All f**ing robed rats must f**ing hang.”

“The Denver Police Department is currently investigating incidents directed at Colorado Supreme Court justices and will continue working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate any reports of threats or harassment,” police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Responding to a query about the probe, an FBI spokesperson in Denver said in a statement the agency was “aware of the situation and working with local law enforcement.”

“We will vigorously pursue investigations of any threat or use of violence committed by someone who uses extremist views to justify their actions regardless of motivation,” the FBI statement added.

Neither the police nor the FBI commented on the nature or extent of the incidents under investigation.

A spokesperson for the Colorado state judicial branch likewise declined to comment on the issue.

The investigation comes as Trump himself has leveled increasingly inflammatory rhetoric at his perceived enemies in recent days, with the former president posting a Christmas Day message on his Truth Social platform calling on his political opponents to “rot in hell.”

On Tuesday, he posted a poll on Truth Social highlighting that the single word voters most associate with a potential second term under his command is “revenge.”

Trump became the first candidate in U.S. history deemed ineligible for the White House under a provision of the 14th Amendment prohibiting officials who engage in “insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. government from holding elected office.

The Colorado high court held that the insurrection clause applies to Trump because of the role he played in stoking the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters seeking to block Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential race.

The Colorado court, whose decision applies only to the state’s March 5 Republican primary, said it would delay the effect of its ruling until at least Jan. 4, 2024, to allow time for an appeal.

Trump has been indicted on criminal charges in federal court and in the state of Georgia over his efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat based on unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen through massive voter fraud.

Published By:

Poulami Kundu

Published On:

Dec 27, 2023

Colorado authorities, former US President Donald Trump ballot case, Colorado Supreme Court justices, threat to Supreme Court justices

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