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South Carolina Man Faces Prison for Threats to Ex-Prosecutor

FILE - Proud Boys in Raleigh, NC, October 2020
Anthony Crider
FILE - Proud Boys in Raleigh, NC, October 2020

A South Carolina man authorities linked to the extremist group the Proud Boys faces a prison sentence after pleading guilty to threatening a former federal prosecutor.

James Giannakos, 47, of Gilbert is scheduled for sentencing by a U.S. District Court judge June 29. Court records show Giannakos was arrested in February after recorded threats made to a former federal prosecutor in Florida were traced to a phone he owned.

Giannakos pleaded guilty in April, The State reported. According to court records, he was angry at the prosecutor for comments confirming news reports that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio had been an FBI informant in drug cases.

Giannakos is a self-employed home repairman and security system installer, according to documents filed in the legal case. When the FBI raided his home in February, agents found guns and Proud Boys literature, as well as a Capitol Police riot shield suspected to have been taken during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Giannakos has not been charged in the insurrection. But court records say federal authorities are investigating whether he committed crimes while taking part in the Capitol siege.

Giannaokos' attorney, Allen Burnside, declined to comment on the case, the newspaper said.

The Proud Boys is a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group that seized on the policies of former President Donald Trump's administration' and was a major agitator during earlier protests and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Federal prosecutors say it was in late January, after the Capitol riot, that Giannakos left threatening voice mail messages for the former prosecutor at the law firm where she now works as a private attorney.

One message prominently mentions the Proud Boys leader, saying: "If anything happens to Mr. Enrique Tarrio, the same thing will happen to you and your family... If anything happens to him, I promise you and your associates will pay for it."

A judge ordered Giannakos to remain jailed pending sentencing after concluding he remains a potential threat to the former prosecutor. Court records say federal guidelines call for a prison sentence of 24 to 30 months.