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A US Senate candidate with Florida ties is accused of impersonating a federal agent

Ron DeSantis, left, and Everett Stern pose next to an American flag
Everett Stern
/
Courtesy
Everett Stern (right) poses with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the Republican Committee of Allegheny County's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, in Pittsburgh on May 24, 2021.

Everett Stern is a long-shot candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania who is a former Florida resident. He's accused of pulling over a Jeep Compass that had been parked on the top floor of his apartment complex’s garage.

A long-shot candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania who has ties to Florida was expected to face arraignment in court Thursday following accusations he masqueraded as a public servant while pulling over a vehicle occupied by four young women in late March, according to a police affidavit.

Everett Stern, an independent candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Pat Toomey, is a former Florida resident and self-described whistleblower who owns and operates “Tactical Rabbit,” a private intelligence firm he previously has billed as “America’s private CIA.” Stern is also currently a defendant in two defamation lawsuits filed in Florida by Grenada’s ambassador to Russia and a Trump-era national security adviser.

On the evening of March 30, Stern, driving a BMW, pulled over a Jeep Compass in Chester County, Pennsylvania, that had been parked on the top floor of his apartment complex’s garage, police said. He found the vehicle suspicious as there are typically only two cars parked on the top floor, and he had been in touch with police recently over incidents of strangers in an SUV peering into his apartment’s windows, Stern said in an interview.

In an attempt to record the plate number and identify the driver, Stern flagged down the vehicle using a flashlight with red and blue strobes, police said. He approached the driver, identified himself as a federal candidate and, smelling what he believed to be marijuana coming from the car, determined the women did not present a threat to his safety and left, Stern said.

After a witness contacted police about the encounter, the women in the Jeep were subsequently located and questioned.

The women, who told police they parked in the garage to eat food from Taco Bell, said they believed Stern was a law enforcement officer and that they felt obligated to pull over. They told police Stern yelled at them before hopping back in his BMW – peeling off at a high rate of speed to the top of the garage, according to the complaint.

One passenger in the vehicle interviewed by the West Goshen Township Police Department said Stern identified himself as a federal officer. The driver, the two other passengers and a witness to the scene told police they heard Stern say he was “federal.”

Stern, who posted a $1,500 bond, faces four summary counts each of harassment and disorderly conduct and a single misdemeanor charge of impersonating a public servant.

The criminal case is the latest incident in a string of legal issues involving Stern this year, including two high-profile federal defamation lawsuits filed against him in Florida, where Stern attended college. Stern graduated from Boca Raton’s Florida Atlantic University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in social science and earned an MBA in 2010 from Stetson University. The two plaintiffs are Florida residents.

Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn filed a $250 million federal defamation suit against Stern in late May in Orlando after Stern alleged, among other things, that Flynn was a traitor and helmed a domestic terrorist organization engaged in sedition. Stern has acknowledged the lawsuit on his Twitter and YouTube accounts and doubled down on his accusations against Flynn, describing his ongoing conflict with the former official in an interview as “the fight of my life.”

Stern said he is preparing to file a counterclaim in the Flynn case and added he will soon publicly release a report about Flynn containing information he submitted to the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

A month prior to the Flynn lawsuit, Oleg Firer, Grenada’s ambassador to Russia, filed a defamation case in state court in Miami against Stern and Tactical Rabbit over a Facebook post in which Stern stated, without attribution, that an investigation had identified Firer as a Russian intelligence asset. Firer, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, during the Soviet era is a U.S. citizen and resident of Miami, according to the complaint.

Firer alleged that Stern used a picture taken of him posing with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a credential presentation ceremony to suggest that the two men had close ties.

Stern later welcomed Firer’s lawsuit, stating in an April 21 press release that the lawsuit was evidence Tactical Rabbit was “making a difference.”

Earlier this month, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Gina Beovides awarded Firer a temporary injunction and ordered Stern to remove all defamatory posts and tweets about Firer from the internet.

Stern is currently suing a transportation company, as well, over a 2017 inauguration-day limousine accident in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida that left him with back injuries and partial paralysis in his left leg he says has required multiple surgeries.

Stern announced his run for Senate as a Republican in January 2021 but later amended his political paperwork to run as an independent. Stern, who has injected roughly $87,000 of his own money into the race, will face Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman in November. Oz and Fetterman secured their party’s nominations in the May 17 primary.

This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The reporter can be reached at bryce.schuele@ufl.edu. You can donate to support our students here.