Iowa man sentenced to 30 months for 2020 election threats to Arizona officials



(The Center Square) — An Iowa man is sentenced to 30 months behind bars over threats made to Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman and former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich following the close results of the 2020 presidential election between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Mark Rissi left threatening voicemails to Hickman and Brnovich, both Republicans, nearly a year after the election occurred, resulting in a guilty plea of two counts of “sending a threatening interstate communication.”

“Hello Mr. Hickman, I am glad that you are standing up for democracy and want to place your hand on the Bible and say that the election was honest and fair. I really appreciate that,” Rissi, 64, sarcastically opened his Sept. 27, 2021, message to Hickman, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

“When we come to lynch your stupid lying Commie [expletive], you’ll remember that you lied on the [expletive] Bible, you piece of [expletive]. You’re gonna die, you piece of [expletive]. We’re going to hang you. We’re going to hang you,” Rissi continued.

Hickman asked the federal court on Monday for mercy on Rissi prior to his sentencing, KTAR News reported.

In a Dec. 8, 2021, voicemail to Brnovich, Rissi told the former state official that he was the “victim of a crime.”

“This message is for Attorney General Mark Brnovich . . . . I’m a victim of a crime. My family is a victim of a crime. My extended family is a victim of a crime. That crime was the theft of the 2020 election,” Rissi said, according to the Department of Justice. “The election that was fraudulent across the state of Arizona, that the Attorney General knows was fraudulent, that the Attorney General has images of the conspirators deleting election fraud data from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors computer system. Do your job, Brnovich, or you will hang with those [expletive] in the end. We will see to it. Torches and pitchforks. That’s your future, [expletive]. Do your job.”

Threats were made to numerous election officials throughout the country in the aftermath of the 2020 election, as Trump narrowly lost Arizona and other key battleground states. Arizona became a point of contention again in the 2022 midterms, as Maricopa County encountered issues on Election Day.

“This sentence makes clear that individuals who illegally threaten election officials and others associated with the electoral process will face meaningful penalties,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a news release. “The Justice Department will diligently investigate and prosecute attempts to illegally threaten, intimidate, and coerce the individuals administering the nation’s free and fair elections.”

Rissi is not the first to be sentenced for threatening Arizona officials over contentious elections. Frederick Francis Goltz of Texas was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison earlier this month for threatening Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and others with violence, and he pleaded guilty in April, according to the Associated Press.

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