A U.S. Senate candidate with ties to Florida is set to be arraigned in a Pennsylvania 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’s previously 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 advisor.
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’d been in touch with police recently over incidents of strangers in an SUV peering into his apartment’s windows, Stern said in an interview with Fresh Take Florida.
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 about the incident.
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.
However, 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 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 a MBA in 2010 from Stetson in Tampa. The two complainants are legal residents of the state.
Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn filed a $250 million federal defamation suit against Stern in late May in Orlando after Stern alleged, among other things, that Flynn is a traitor and helms 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 as a witness to the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
A month prior to the Flynn suit, Oleg Firer, Grenada’s ambassador to Russia, filed a defamation suit in Miami-Dade circuit court 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 alleges 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.”
On July 13, 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 FEC filing this past March 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. No independent candidate from Pennsylvania has before been elected to the United States Senate.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can donate to support our students here.