Federal authorities have arrested a South Carolina man for threatening a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the leader of the Proud Boys, a white domestic terrorist group.
James Giannakos Jr., 46, of Gilbert, S.C. left a series of voicemails last month threatening that the former prosecutor, her family and her co-workers would be in “danger” if anything happened to Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio. He also blamed the former prosecutor for outing Tarrio to the press as an FBI informant, transcripts of the court documents filed on Feb. 2 show.
The story was first reported by The State on Feb. 2 with a follow-up by The Post and Courier after Giannakos Jr.’s arrest.
“I just wanted you to know that if anything happens to Mr. Enrique Tarrio, the same thing will happen to you and your family,” Giannakos said in one of the voice messages, according to an FBI agent’s sworn affidavit.
“I cannot believe you released the (confidential informant) information, if that’s even true,” he reportedly said. “If anything happens to him, I promise you and your associates will pay for it. You will be held responsible.”
Giannakos could face up to five years in prison. He is currently being held in the Lexington County Detention Center.
The FBI defines the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.” Earlier this week, Canada designated the group as a terrorist organization, alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. When White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked this week if the Biden Administration would follow Canada’s lead, she said it was something that was currently “under considered” by the President and others.
Several members of the group have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 violent attack at the U.S. Capitol in which supporters of Donald Trump sought to overturn the former president’s defeat in the 2020 election.
“Those who seek violent retribution on prosecutors, former prosecutors, other law enforcement officials and individuals who assist law enforcement will be held accountable,” U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Peter McCoy said of the charge.
Giannakos has a previous conviction for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, according to the FBI report.