Peoria man charged with threatening Donald Trump, federal prosecutor and judge

Damien Grant appears to have made the threats from the Tazewell County jail. Officials said he has been held there since July 2019, when he allegedly struggled with two Illinois state troopers and tried to grab their weapons.

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the stage after addressing the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention on October 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson, Getty

A Peoria man faces federal charges for threatening the lives late last year of then-President Donald Trump, a downstate U.S. attorney and a federal judge.

Damien Grant, 33, is charged with three counts of influencing a federal official by threat, two counts of mailing threatening communications, and one count of threatening the president of the United States. 

The eight-page indictment filed against Grant lays out two threats against John Milhiser, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois who resigned last month, as well as a threat against Trump and the judge. 

Though the judge is not named in the indictment, court records show U.S. District Judge James Shadid has recused himself from the case. Shadid could not be reached Thursday for comment, nor could an attorney who has represented Grant. Milhiser declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

Grant appears to have made the threats from the Tazewell County jail. Officials there said he has been held in the jail since July 2019, when he allegedly struggled with two Illinois state troopers and tried to grab their weapons.

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Damien Grant

Tazewell County

The new indictment was filed against Grant in federal court in Peoria, but the U.S. attorney’s office there has also recused itself, so the prosecution is being handled by Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s office. 

No court dates had been scheduled in the case as of Thursday afternoon, records show.

The indictment alleged that Grant, in a Dec. 22 letter to Trump, wrote, “And the moment you walk out of office, I’m going to have you shot! Right in your f***ing head … im going to make a nacho and sit back and laugh when your head splatters all over you wife and Secret Service.”

On Nov. 30, Grant allegedly wrote to Milhiser, “You have 2 days to drop all charges and investigations against me or im going to make sure you never see Christmas! This is a threat and a promise. 2 days or I put the hit out on you now it’s personal … I might have someone walk in the Court House and blow all you evil b**ches to pieces.”

Grant allegedly also wrote to Milhiser on Dec. 10, “But until you learn to take he[e]d to warnings you will see how far my reach can go!… Now the target is on you! Here’s a little joke, what sound does a BOMB make? BOOM.”

Earlier, on Dec. 1, Grant allegedly wrote to the judge, “But there is Hope. For you to release everyone who you sentenced unfairly. If this is not done within 72 hours, I’m gonna have you killed, you and your family. I know all about you.”

An affidavit filed in Grant’s separate case in Tazewell County alleged that, after an Illinois state trooper stopped Grant’s vehicle on Interstate 74 on the Fourth of July 2019, Grant admitted that he’d smoked marijuana. Then, after a trooper found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat of Grant’s vehicle and began to handcuff him, Grant allegedly fought with two troopers and grabbed at their weapons. Grant was able to pull a Taser off one trooper’s belt but was ultimately restrained, according to the affidavit. Afterward, Grant allegedly said he knew he was in trouble because of his criminal history. 

Court records in Peoria County allege Grant broke into a Peoria home while armed with a handgun in May 2016 and threatened two people, including a child under 12. Records show Grant pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and criminal trespass in that case, and he was sentenced to six years in prison.

The threats Grant allegedly made against Trump, Milhiser and the judge all occurred in the contentious period between the November presidential election and the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden, which included the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach that interrupted the Electoral College vote count. More than 300 people have already been charged in connection with the breach, including at least five Illinoisans.

Federal prosecutors in Chicago earlier this year also charged Louis Capriotti, of Chicago Heights, with threatening Biden’s inauguration in a December voicemail that said if people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that f---ing White House on Jan. 20th, they’re sadly f---ing mistaken.”

“We will surround the motherf---ing White House and we will kill any motherf---ing Democrat that steps on the motherf---ing lawn,” Capriotti allegedly said.

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