Eric Brandt has repeatedly challenged metro-area authorities over First Amendment issues, and more often than not in recent years, he's come out on top. He may be best known for pedaling a bicycle while wearing a display shaped like a bird-flipping hand emblazoned with the slogan "Fuck Cops," but during recent years, he's won two court cases against local suburbs that tried to muzzle his right to free speech, and the Colorado Supreme Court sided with him in a battle that pitted him against Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.
Now it's McCann's turn to declare victory. On April 1, her office announced that Brandt will be sentenced next week for three felony counts related to retaliating against judges — beefs that each carry a potential one to six years behind bars. And this time, an appeal isn't possible, since Brandt has pleaded guilty to the offenses.
Brandt has experienced incarceration before. In December 2018, for instance, he was sentenced to serve ninety days in jail for writing an anti-police message in chalk on a sidewalk in Westminster four years earlier. As he pointed out to Westword at the time, the punishment was the same one given to the cop who originally arrested him for a different crime: Westminster police officer Curtis Arganbright, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and official misconduct while on duty related to a woman he forced to engage in sex acts with him in August 2017.
"The arresting officer in The Great Sidewalk Chalk Caper of 2014 got the same jail sentence for his egregious, violent sex crime as the odious Westminster chalker!" Brandt pronounced.
After that, Brandt went on a judicial winning streak, with two of the cases putting money in his pocket. In October 2019, a jury ruled in favor of his complaint against the City of Westminster for cuffing him when he was trying to speak during a 2014 city council meeting; he was subsequently awarded $12,000. And in August 2020, he was paid $30,000 in a settlement over a nearly three-year-old complaint about his use of profanities outside the Englewood Civic Center.
And then there was his September 2019 win before the Colorado Supreme Court related to his 2015 arrest for passing out jury nullification literature near Denver's Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. McCann is listed as the top attorney for the State of Colorado in the opinion, which resulted in a 5-2 ruling on Brandt's behalf.
That December, the Denver DA's Office came after Brandt again, charging him with retaliation against a judge and harassment over making threatening phone calls to court personnel and uploading videos on his YouTube channel that mentioned assault rifles.
The charges expanded from there. According to the DA's office, Brandt's guilty pleas related to two separate matters — a December 2018 incident involving a Denver judge and December 2019 exchanges that are said to have targeted an Adams County judge, a judicial assistant and an Adams County Sheriff's Office deputy. (Accusations in regard to a third episode that took place in Jefferson County were dropped as part of the plea agreement.)
In the 2019 case, the DA's office says, Brandt and associates disrupted court proceedings by "yelling, screaming and intimidating jurors," leading to their arrest. Then, just over an hour later, the judge received a phone call in which Brandt was quoted as saying, "It is my thought that the judge should be violently murdered and his brains splattered all over the face of his children. And it’s my prayer that some [expletive] actually does it. Kill, kill, kill, all judges should die."
Shortly thereafter, Brandt posted a video in which he said that "he was going to stop by the home of the judge's parent and have a little chat," according to the DA's office. "In a prior video, Brandt says the judge would 'look best hanging from a tree.'"
Sounds like Brandt would have been better off if he'd stuck to the F-word. He's set to be sentenced on April 6.
Click to read the Eric Brandt Denver arrest affidavit.
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