QAnon Believer Who Threatened To Shoot Nancy Pelosi For Trump Sentenced To Prison

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A QAnon believer who arrived with weapons in Washington, D.C., just after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and threatened to kill former President Donald Trump’s political opponents, was sentenced to 28 months behind bars on Tuesday.

Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a 53-year-old from Hayesville, North Carolina, was arrested on Jan. 7 after he sent threats about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others to a relative from Georgia. The relative contacted Meredith’s mother, who reached out to the FBI.

When FBI special agents found Meredith at a Holiday Inn about a mile from the U.S. Capitol, there was a handgun, a rifle, about 2,500 rounds of ammunition and 10 large-capacity ammunition feeding devices inside his trailer.

Meredith will get credit for the 11 months he’s already served behind bars. The defendant’s mental health issues played a role in his sentence.

Meredith had written to his relative that he was “[t]hinking about heading over to Pelosi C[**]T’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV ????.” “I ain’t goin to jail, the morgue maybe, not jail,” he wrote to his relative.

When a friend wrote that “Trump wants you to go home peacefully,” Meredith said that was nonsense.

“Bullshit, he wants HEADS and I’m gonna deliver,” he wrote.

Meredith’s mother said his family had encouraged him to seek mental heath treatment but that he’d refused to follow through, according to the FBI.

Meredith was sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who’d previously ordered him held until trial, saying that “no condition or combination of conditions will ensure the safety of the community” if he was released. Meredith pleaded guilty in September to one count of making felony threats as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Jackson said she factored in Meredith’s cooperation with the FBI, as well as the fact that he shared his threats with a relative rather than sending them to the actual target. She also cited his positive behavior behind bars. But, the judge said, deterrence plays an important role in resolving the ongoing Jan. 6 cases.

“The heated, inflammatory rhetoric that brought the defendant to the District has not subsided. The lie that the election was stolen and illegitimate is still being perpetrated ― indeed, it’s being amplified, not only on social media but on mainstream media outlets,” Jackson said. “Worse, it’s become heresy for a member of the [former] president’s party to say otherwise.”

It needs to be “crystal clear,” Jackson said, that it is not patriotism to descend on the nation’s capital “at the direction of a disappointed candidate” and threaten members of the other party.

“Canceling out the votes of others at the point of a gun is the utter anthesis of what America stands for,” she said. “It is the definition of tyranny and of authoritarianism.”

Jackson said political debate in the U.S. has become “debased” and threats have increased, and said laws needed to be enforced.

Meredith’s attorneys had asked for time served. They said their client struggled to “find a sense of purpose and significance” after the death of his younger sister when he was in his early 20s, and that he often told people “he should have been the one to die.” He later got married and had two children, and ran two car washing businesses while being “plagued with deepening, largely untreated mental health issues.” His life “began to fall apart” in his mid-40s, the defense team said.

After Meredith moved from Georgia to North Carolina in September 2020, he became “deeply immersed in QAnon” and “increasingly vocal and hostile in his political views, alienating his family and friends,” according to his attorneys. It was within the “extreme and distorted conspiracy theories of QAnon and its angry call to action” that Meredith “felt he had found the illusory sense of purpose and meaning that had eluded him,” his attorneys wrote.

Meredith was not serious about shooting Pelosi, his attorneys argued, noting that he’d given himself the “spy” nickname “DoubleODipshit” and sent messages suggesting that he was joking.

As HuffPost reported earlier this year, belief in the QAnon movement has driven families apart, with the friends and relatives of adherents of the bizarre conspiracy movement struggling to pull their loved ones back to reality. The FBI has made about 700 arrests in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, with hundreds more arrests in the works.

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