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SC man linked to Proud Boys sentenced to 28 months in prison

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SC man linked to Proud Boys sentenced to 28 months in prison

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A man convicted of threatening a former federal prosecutor for her comments on the leader of the extremist group the Proud Boys will spend more than two years in federal prison.

James Giannakos, 47, of Gilbert, was sentenced to 28 months on Tuesday.

He was charged in February with making interstate threats. He pleaded guilty in April.

Giannakos threatened the former prosecutor because she told media outlets that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, gave the FBI information used to arrest 13 people.

During the sentencing hearing Tuesday, prosecutors presented background on Giannakos starting with evidence found during a raid on his Lexington County home.

Investigators found a Capitol Police riot shield, hat and body camera.

U.S. attorneys argued this showed a pattern with Giannakos -- starting with the riots on January 6 and ending with the threats made against the prosecutor, her co-workers and family, 22 days after the riot.

The victim also spoke to the court over the phone, telling the judge about the impacts these threats had on her life.

She said they scared her co-workers and children and forced her family to take extra security precautions, including having an officer outside her house for what she said was a full month.

The victim said in this current climate in our country, threats are real. She asked the judge for a severe sentence.

Giannakos’ defense attorney argued it was the pandemic and unemployment that led to his involvement with a movement like “Stop the Steal” through the internet.

His lawyer called it a “misguided passion.”

Giannakos’ lawyer said his client did not enter the Capitol building during the riot but did take the items found in his home.

His attorney said there was no planning involved with these threats and that Giannakos used his real name and phone number when making the calls -- adding that he had been drinking and had not slept the night before.

Giannakos’ mother and wife gave emotional statements to the judge ahead of sentencing. They said he was “someone who would give you the shirt off his back.”

Giannakos also addressed the courtroom apologizing for his actions.

“I never meant to scare anyone,” he said.

Giannakos was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Terry Wooten, who called the threats very serious actions.

Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.

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