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Man accused of trying to incite violence at the Florida Capitol to remain in custody

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 11:58:41-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Tallahassee man accused of using social media to incite violence at the Florida Capitol will remain in federal custody.

Daniel Baker will stay in federal custody after being charged for interstate communication of a threat on Jan. 15.

United States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Frank issued an order Monday morning saying that Baker "must be detained pending trial because no condition or combination of conditions reasonably would assure the safety of the community."

In the order, the judge cited the circumstances of the offense, the weight of the evidence against Baker, Baker's history, and the seriousness of the crime as factors in his decision.

Judge Frank also issued another order finding probable cause to charge Baker for the crimes.

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."

However, 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 said an FBI special agent also testified that Baker admitted that he posted his messages online "to scare people."

As part of the judge's orders, Baker will remain in federal custody while awaiting trial. Under his current charge, Baker could face fines and/or be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

In October, FBI agents began tracking Baker's social media about attacks on law enforcement according to arrest documents.

FBI agents arrested Baker on Jan. 15. Court documents say his social media accounts encouraged people to join him in violently confronting protesters at the Florida Capitol on Inauguration Day.