FBI: SC man threatened ex-assistant US attorney over case involving Proud Boys’ leader

Generic prison bars graphic.
Generic prison bars graphic.(Source: Gray News)
Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:57 PM EST
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GILBERT, S.C. (WIS) - A South Carolina man faces federal charges accusing him of threatening a former assistant United States attorney and her family and friends.

James Giannakos, Jr., of Gilbert, is charged with making interstate threats.

This came after the media reported that the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, gave the government information used to incarcerate people.

Those reports said the former assistant U.S. attorney, who is the victim in this case, “indicated that the information Tarrio provided to authorities led to the prosecution of approximately 13 individuals.”

Federal officials claim that on Jan. 28, Giannakos left a threatening voicemail for the former assistant U.S. attorney, who lives in Miami, because he was angry Tarrio’s name was reported.

According to court documents, the voicemail said:

“I just wanted you to know that if anything happens to Mr. Enrique Tarrio, the same thing will happen to you and your family. I cannot believe you released the CI (confidential informant) information, if that’s even true. If anything happens to him, I promise you and your associates will pay for it. You will be held responsible.”

Court documents show the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Columbia is investigating Giannakos.

The former assistant U.S. attorney told the FBI she was “terrified” for her safety and the safety of her children.

Shortly after the voicemail on Jan. 28, officials said six more threatening messages from the same number were left at offices of the firm for which the former assistant U.S. attorney now works.

Court documents allege those messages said, “If anything happens to Mr. Tarrio or his family, the same thing will happen to you and your associates. Be safe.” And, “if anything happens to Enrique Tarrio...[the former Assistant United States Attorney’s] family is in danger and so are you.”

FBI agents were able to trace that phone number to Gilbert, South Carolina and eventually to Giannakos. An FBI agent filed an affidavit to get an arrest warrant for him on Feb. 2.

Giannakos is in custody at the Lexington County Detention Center, sources told WIS.

He had an initial federal court hearing Thursday morning during which United States’ attorneys asked he remain detained.

Giannakos was set to appear in court again on Feb. 11. However, he waived his right to appear.

Court documents also show he was previously convicted of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and claim he is unemployed.

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