Monday, February 26, 2024

A man who threatened a prosecutor and a sheriff involved in the Georgia investigation of former President Donald Trump for election interference was indicted in federal court on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The man, Arthur Ray Hanson II, of Huntsville, Ala., had left threatening messages to Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., and Patrick Labat, the county’s sheriff, for their involvement in the Georgia case over the 2020 presidential election.

According to the indictment by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, Mr. Hanson called the Fulton County government’s customer service line and left threatening voice mail messages for Ms. Willis and Sheriff Labat in early August, days before Mr. Trump and 18 of his associates were indicted in the state.

In a voice mail message for Sheriff Labat, Mr. Hanson threatened the sheriff to not take a mug shot of “my President Donald Trump,” according to the indictment.

“I’m warning you right now,” Mr. Hanson said, adding that Sheriff Labat could “get hurt real bad.”

Mr. Hanson also left a voice mail message for Ms. Willis in which he threatened her and referred to the Georgia case.

“Watch it when you’re going to the car at night, when you’re going into your house, watch everywhere that you’re going,” Mr. Hanson said, according to court records. “When you charge Trump on that fourth indictment, anytime you’re alone, be looking over your shoulder.”

Mr. Hanson faces charges of transmitting interstate threats to injure Ms. Willis and Sheriff Labat. Mr. Hanson will be formally arraigned on Nov. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

It was unclear whether Mr. Hanson had a lawyer. Sheriff Labat and the office for Ms. Willis did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday night.

Ms. Willis investigated whether Mr. Trump and his associates violated a Georgia state law after a recording was released in which Mr. Trump called Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, and asked him to find more votes to win Georgia and its Electoral College votes. Mr. Trump and 18 associates were indicted in the case in August.

At a Fulton County Board of Commissioners meeting in early October, Ms. Willis said that she had received more than 150 threats over the span of about two months, some of which had come through the Fulton County Government’s customer service line.

Ms. Willis said at the meeting that her staff had been working to track down and investigate the threats, “but also keep me alive, which has become a real concern for me.”

“I have got to have people that are loyal to me and that my life means something to,” Ms. Willis said.

It was unclear how much time in prison Mr. Hanson could face if convicted.

Keri Farley, special agent in charge of the Atlanta office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the case, said in a statement on Monday that “threats against public servants are not only illegal, but also a threat against our democratic process.”

Mr. Hanson’s indictment came a day after a judge in a separate case against Mr. Trump in Federal District Court in Washington reinstated a gag order on the former president, reimposing restrictions on what he could say about witnesses and prosecutors involved in the case. Mr. Trump is also under a gag order in a civil case in New York.

Ryan K. Buchanan, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement on Monday that threatening prosecutors and law enforcement officers “is a vile act intended to interfere with the administration of justice and intimidate individuals.”

“When someone threatens to harm public servants for doing their jobs to enforce our criminal laws, it potentially weakens the very foundation of our society,” he said.

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