Eric Brandt is mostly known for testing the First Amendment. To draw attention to alleged police misconduct in Adams County, the activist and a friend roasted a pig in front of Westminster City Hall on July 4, 2017, while wearing T-shirts that read "Fuck Cops" and drawing pictures of crying pigs on the sidewalk. In October of this year, a jury in federal court ruled in Brandt's favor in his case against Westminster; he'd sued the city for handcuffing him as he tried to speak during a city council meeting there in 2014.
Brandt has drawn the ire of local officials for years — but now he's accused of threatening one. On December 31, the Denver District Attorney's Office charged Brandt with one count of retaliation against a judge and one count of harassment, for allegedly making threatening phone calls to court personnel and uploading videos on his YouTube channel that mentioned assault rifles.
The incident that led to the charges occurred on December 18, the day a 76-year-old Extinction Rebellion activist was set to go to trial in Denver. Fred Henrich and seven other members of the environmental activism group had been arrested in September for blocking an intersection during a protest. Although Henrich's trial was supposed to begin on December 18, it was postponed after the judge decided that activists with Occupy Denver had "tainted" the jury when they interacted — they say unknowingly — with jury members. According to Brandt's arrest affidavit, however, an officer in the courtroom that day says that Occupy members were yelling, intimidating and screaming at jurors walking into and exiting the room.
Two Occupy members — who aren't identified in the arrest affidavit but are called "known associates" of Brandt's — were eventually arrested for trespassing after they refused to leave the courtroom. Then, around noon on the 18th, an employee of the court received a phone call from Brandt. "Brandt is a member of Occupy Denver and is known for making calls for lawlessness in the form of the random shooting of judges and police officers through videos on his YouTube.com channels," the arrest affidavit reads.
Most of the particulars of the conversation that transpired between Brandt and the court staffer are redacted. However, the staffer notified another unnamed person, presumably the judge, of the call, who listened to it and was scared for "his personal safety and that of his family," according to the affidavit. On December 19, Brandt allegedly posted a video on YouTube in which he called for a protest at the home of the unnamed person. There's also mention of a "BAR," or Browning Automatic Rifle, made by other participants in the video.
The arrest affidavit notes that the judge has seen other threatening videos that Brandt posted on YouTube, and requested extra protection around his home after the most recent incident.
Brandt faces a separate assault charge connected to his arrest in May following an altercation with Mayor Michael Hancock's security detail.
Brandt's first advisement in the judicial harassment case is today at 1:30 p.m.
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