Far-right extremists on pro-Donald Trump message boards and social networks are making violent, antisemitic threats against the judge who reportedly signed the warrant that allowed the FBI to search the former president's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
Multiple members of these toxic online communities are even posting what appears to be Judge Bruce Reinhart’s home address, phone numbers, and names of his family members alongside threats of extreme violence.
“This is the piece of shit judge who approved FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago,” a user wrote on the pro-Trump message board formerly known as TheDonald. “I see a rope around his neck.”
Responding, another user wrote: “Idgaf [I don’t give a fuck] anymore. Name? Address? Put that shit all up on here.” Moments later, a different member replied with what appears to be Reinhart’s current address, phone numbers, previous addresses, and names of possible relatives.
In another post on the same message board, one user commented, “Let's find out if he has children....where they go to school, where they live...EVERYTHING.”
These threats of violence and antisemitic slurs on a range of platforms, including 4chan, Telegram, Gettr, Gab, and Trump’s own platforms called Truth Social, were first uncovered by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that conducts public-interest investigations.
“The threats against Judge Reinhart in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid are significant,” Daniel J. Jones, founder of Advance Democracy, told VICE News. “In addition to the antisemitic and violent slurs, we’re seeing his address and other personal information being shared online—with the implied or explicit purpose of ‘real-life’ action.”
A message board where a number of these threats were posted also happens to be the same one where many of those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot posted threats of violence in the lead-up to Jan. 6.
These threats against the judge, Jones told VICE News, are “all the more alerting given the events of January 6.”
These threats made against Reinhart and his family didn’t occur in a vacuum: Within hours of the FBI searching Trump’s Palm Beach home, the former president’s supporters reacted furiously, calling for civil war and the dismantling of the FBI. As Trump has scrambled to explain why his home was searched, he has also pushed conspiracy theories about the FBI supposedly planting evidence there.
Right-wing news outlets have also tried to connect the judge to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Reinhart worked as a federal prosecutor until 2008, and a day after he quit, he became the defense attorney for a number of Epstein’s employees, including his pilots and a scheduler, according to his 2018 Miami Herald report. The link between Reinhart and Epstein has been weaponized by Trump supporters to incorrectly imply Reinhart was Epstein’s own lawyer, and, by extension, was corrupt and possibly a pedophile. (A small note in light of these accusations: Trump had a long personal relationship with Epstein, and once famously told New York Magazine that he was a “terrific guy.”)
On fringe message board 4chan, one user posted an image of Reinhart with the caption: “About that Judge that signed the search Warrant…Bruce Reinhart once quit his job as a U.S. Attorney to work for Jeffrey Epstein. Another 4chan user wrote in response: “That is a k***. And a pedophile … He should be tried for treason and executed.”
“The U.S. Marshals are responsible for the protection of the federal judicial process, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals told VICE News when asked for comment about the threats. “While we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the measures in place and take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of the federal judicial process.”
The FBI deferred comment to the U.S. Marshals, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida told VICE News “the Court has no comment.”
Keegan Hamilton contributed to this report.