By Casey Gannon and Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) — Federal prosecutors on Thursday said they plan to file felony charges against the man who was arrested last week with firearms in former President Barack Obama’s Washington, DC, neighborhood and accused of threatening several politicians.
Taylor Taranto, who had an open warrant for his arrest related to charges stemming from his involvement in the US Capitol riot, was arrested last week after claiming on an internet livestream the day before that he had a detonator.
Taranto has been in police custody since his arrest, and during a hearing Thursday to determine whether he’ll continue to be detained pending his trial for the riot charges, federal prosecutors said they plan to add federal felony charges to the case.
The prosecutors did not say when exactly they would bring the additional charges. Taranto is currently only facing four misdemeanor charges related to his conduct on January 6, 2021.
Taranto will continue to remain in custody pending a decision on his detention, federal magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ordered Thursday.
Faruqui said he is currently in contact with pretrial services in Washington state, where Taranto is believed to have lived recently, to see if Taranto could be supervised by a third-party custodian instead of being held in detention. Pretrial services informed the judge it could take up to a week to evaluate the case.
Taranto is set to have another detention hearing next Wednesday.
Memo details threats to lawmakers
On Wednesday, prosecutors provided fresh details on Taranto’s online activity before his arrest and threats he made toward prominent politicians in recent weeks.
The government said in a detention memo that Taranto made threats against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin. Earlier in June, Taranto and several others entered an elementary school near Raskin’s home, with Taranto live-streaming the group “walking around the school, entering the gymnasium, and using a projector to display a film related to January 6,” according to the filing.
Taranto stated that he specifically chose the elementary school due to its proximity to Raskin’s home and that he is targeting Raskin because “he’s one of the guys that hates January 6 people, or more like Trump supporters, and it’s kind of like sending a shockwave through him because I did nothing wrong and he’s probably freaking out and saying s*** like, ‘Well he’s stalking me,’” the filing said.
“Taranto further comments, ‘I didn’t tell anyone where he lives ‘cause I want him all to myself,’ and ‘That was Piney Branch Elementary School in Maryland…right next to where Rep. Raskin and his wife live,’” the memo said.
On June 28, according to prosecutors, Taranto made “ominous comments” on video referencing McCarthy, saying: “Coming at you McCarthy. Can’t stop what’s coming. Nothing can stop what’s coming.”
After seeing those “threatening comments,” law enforcement tried to locate Taranto but weren’t successful, prosecutors said.
The following day, on June 29, “former President Donald Trump posted what he claimed was the address of Former President Barack Obama on the social media platform Truth Social,” prosecutors wrote in their memo. “Taranto used his own Truth Social account to re-post the address. On Telegram, Taranto then stated, ‘We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.’”
“Shortly thereafter, Taranto again began live-streaming from his van on his YouTube channel. This time, Taranto was driving through the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington D.C.,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Taranto parked his van and began walking around the neighborhood and that because of the “restricted nature of the residential area where Taranto was walking, United States Secret Service uniformed officers began monitoring Taranto almost immediately as soon as he began walking around and filming.”
Secret Service agents approached Taranto, prompting him to flee, according to the filing, but he was apprehended and arrested.
The government told the judge that among the items found in Taranto’s van were a “Smith and Wesson M&P Shield” and a “Ceska 9mm CZ Scorpion E3.” They also found “hundreds of rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition, a steering wheel lock, and a machete,” as well as signs, a mattress and other indications Taranto was living in the van.
This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.
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