June 13, 2024

WASHINGTON — Michael Fanone, a former police officer who was nearly killed by a mob during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, spoke outside the courthouse during closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial Tuesday, calling Trump “an authoritarian” with “a violence fetish.”

Hours later, Fanone’s mother was “swatted” at her home in Virginia.

On Tuesday, a fake “manifesto” attributed to Fanone was sent to a number of email addresses, including some associated with a high school that Fanone attended for a year more than two decades ago. The “manifesto,” viewed by NBC News, claimed that the writer had killed their mother and planned to go to the recipient’s school Wednesday and shoot more people. It provided Fanone’s mother’s home address.

That night, Fanone told NBC News, his mother opened the door to law enforcement in her nightgown, “mortified” to find SWAT team officers at her home.

“How dangerous is it to send law enforcement to an address in which you essentially are describing an active shooter, in which the only person present is a 78-year-old f—ing woman,” he said. “This is the reality of going up against or challenging Donald Trump. … These swatting calls are incredibly f—ing dangerous, especially when the target is somebody like my mom.”

Pro-Trump protesters clash with Washington Police Officer Michael Fanone at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters / Redux file

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, said in a statement Wednesday that police responded to the block where Fanone’s mother lives at around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday for a welfare check.

“Officers made contact with the resident, who was confirmed to be okay, following a suspicious email that we were made aware of thanks to our partners with the Montgomery County Police Department” in Maryland, the police department said in a statement. “Detectives from our Threat Assessment Management (TAM) Unit are investigating the circumstances of this case and the swatting nature of the initial email.”

The FBI had no immediate comment.

Fanone said he understood that police had received more than two dozen calls in connection with the swatting incident. He said that his father was also targeted at his address but that he was out of the country.

“All I do is go out there and talk about what happened to me and so many other police officers, like I always have, and this is the recourse,” Fanone said. “This is the direct result of that.”

Fanone spoke out about the Capitol attack before the House Jan. 6 committee and has made remarks at the sentencing hearings of rioters who assaulted him. He left the Metropolitan Police Department in late 2021 after he was assigned a desk job and felt targeted by other Washington police officers.

Fanone, who voted for Trump in 2016, spoke outside the courthouse Tuesday as part of a campaign event for President Joe Biden. He blamed Trump’s “lies” for the Capitol attack.

“These supporters were fueled by Trump’s lies and the lies of his surrogates, lies that the 2020 election was stolen,” he said. “Those same lies have been spewed by Donald Trump and his surrogates about what happened to me and so many other police officers on Jan. 6, 2021, that day I was brutally assaulted.”

Fanone named four people — all of them Trump supporters — who assaulted him on Jan. 6: Albuquerque Head, who is serving 7½ years in federal prison; Kyle Young, who is serving more than seven years; Thomas Sibick, who was sentenced to four years; and Danny “D.J.” Rodriguez, who drove a stun gun into Fanone’s neck and is serving one of the longest sentences given to a Jan. 6 rioter, 12½ years in federal prison.

“All four of these individuals are self-admitted Trump supporters, all four of them committed violent assault on law enforcement. I’m just one representative of the hundreds of police officers that were assaulted that day by Donald Trump supporters inspired by his lies, the lies that continue to this day to inspire my fellow Americans to turn against their fellow Americans to turn against police officers,” Fanone said.

“At the end of the day, this election is about Donald Trump and his vision for the Office of the President of the United States, not as a public servant who answers to the elected, to the people who elected him, but as an authoritarian who answers to and serves only himself,” he said.

Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the federal election interference case against Trump in Washington and the classified documents case in Florida, was the target of an attempted swatting on Christmas, NBC News reported. So, too, was Tanya Chutkan, the federal judge overseeing the election interference case in Washington, which is on pause while the Supreme Court decides whether the presidency is a license to commit crimes with total immunity.