TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Daniel Baker, the Tallahassee man arrested by the FBI after posting a “call to arms” against right-wing extremists he thought were coming for Florida’s Capitol, was sentenced to three years in prison, 44 months of supervised release and a $200 fine on Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Florida arrested Daniel Baker of Tallahassee for transmission, in interstate commerce, of communication containing a threat to kidnap or to injure on January 15, 2021.
The "transmission" referred to what the authorities say was Baker's Facebook call for people to “rise up” with “every caliber available” against “armed racists” he feared would storm the Capitol on Jan. 20 amid FBI warnings of violence that day at statehouses nationwide.
An arrest affidavit says Baker was under the FBI's watch even before Jan. 6. In October, FBI agents began tracking his social media about attacks on law enforcement according to arrest documents.
The judge found that the state presented sufficient evidence to find probable cause that Baker's comments could be perceived as threats.
"... [Baker] refers to his intended targets as 'trump terrorists,' and a reasonable person could understand that to mean that any supporter of former President Trump would be targeted for violence and kidnapping," Judge Frank wrote in the order. "A defendant cannot escape liability merely by employing code words in his threats."
The judge also said an FBI special agent also testified that Baker admitted that he posted his messages online "to scare people."
Attorneys for Baker alleged his comments weren't "true threats," which are defined as statements that a reasonable person would perceive as a threat, and instead contended he was exercising "hyperbolic speech protected by the First Amendment."