Among the reasons a federal judge ruled that 19-year-old Alexander Hillel Treisman should remain in custody while he awaits trial on child pornography charges: He conveyed his intent to assassinate U.S. Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden in a meme he posted online, according to prosecutors.
Per the Washington Post, court documents relaying the order state that Treisman searched online in May 2020 for “information about Joe Biden’s home address, state gun laws, rifle parts, and night vision goggles.” The month before, Triesman allegedly wrote in the comments section of a meme he uploaded to iFunny, “should i kill joe biden?” iFunny has reportedly attracted a userbase of white nationalists.
That might seem like circumstantial evidence from the authorities, but prosecutors also claim Treisman purchased an AR-15 rifle, came within four miles of Biden’s Delaware home in May 2020, and found four rifles, a 9mm pistol, explosive materials, bomb-making instructions, and over half a million in cash upon his arrest in North Carolina later that month. (The cash was apparently related to an inheritance.)
The court documents also list other evidence cataloged by prosecutors, such as fraudulent driver’s licenses and various documents and internet posts referencing mass violence, child sex abuse, and terrorism.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe L. Webster wrote in the order, citing the testimony of an FBI agent, that Kannapolis, North Carolina, police originally discovered the cache of weapons and child pornography at issue while investigating reports of a suspicious white van abandoned in a bank’s parking lot:
Through the windows, KPD officers observed an AR-15 style rifle, a box for a Taurus .380 handgun, a cannister of the explosive material Tannerite, and a box of 5.56 calibre ammunition. The bank manager requested that KPD tow the van. An inventory search was conducted on the vehicle. The search revealed, in addition to the items seen through the windows, approximately $US509,000 ($715,145) of U.S. currency (believed to be Defendant’s inheritance), books (about survival, bomb making, improvised weapons and Islam), drawings of swastikas and planes crashing into buildings, and the following firearms: a Sig Sauer AR rifle, an Intratec 9mm Luger, a Lower AR receiver, a Kel-Tec Sub-2000, a .22 calibre rifle marked ArchAngel, and a Russian Mosin Nagant M91/30 bolt action rifle.
According to the court documents, authorities say Treisman returned that same day to the parking lot and asked bank employees where the van was, after which he was arrested. In a call the next day, his mother allegedly advised him to “jump bail.” The documents also reference a 2017 email from an account suspected to be Treisman’s to a Canadian law firm inquiring about citizenship there and “images of a rental agreement and a power bill in the name of Alex Theiss for an apartment in Quebec, Canada,” though the dates of the agreement and bill weren’t specified.
Judge Webster wrote in the order that “no combination of available release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community, and that a preponderance of evidence establishes that no conditions would ensure Defendant’s presence in court.”
There is no indication as of this time whether or not Treisman will face additional charges, according to the Post. Treisman’s lawyer has stated he has a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.
This is at least the third reported arrest of someone who allegedly made threats to kill Biden or his supporters. In April 2020, the New York Police Department arrested a QAnon conspiracy theorist who had driven to New York with numerous knives and drew Secret Service attention for threats against Biden on Facebook. A Maryland man was arrested this month for allegedly leaving a note on a neighbour’s doorstep threatening to kill Biden, his vice presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and anyone who voted for them. Prosecutors said the man in that case was captured leaving the note on doorbell camera footage.