An Ohio guy gets 2.5 years for 2022 death threats to Arizona's top election official. (Part-2)

An Alabama man charged with interstate threats for sending death threats to the Maricopa County Elections Department's social media account in February. For threatening Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, an Iowa man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Death threats aren't debate. Death threats do not contribute to the marketplace of ideas, said Justice Department Election Threats Task Force chairman John Keller. “Death threats are not First Amendment speech. Death threats and other violent threats are crimes that the Justice Department will prosecute

Keller said the task team, which has initiated dozens of threat investigations nationwide, has convicted 13 of 20 criminals. Russell called Hobbs a traitor and threatened the secretary of state that “her days are extremely numbered,” she had “just signed your own death warrant” and would be punished “or we will see you to the grave” in voicemails from primary election day to a week after the general election.

Prosecutors requested the judge to sentence Russell to 2 1/2 years in jail for threatening Hobbs and secretary of state staff, saying election workers should be free from fear and intimidation. Prosecutors said the punishment should reflect the crime's seriousness and deter future threats.

Jazmin Alagha, Russell's lawyer, sought probation because her client deeply regrets his actions, “was recklessly expressing disagreement with the political culture at that time,” was struggling financially and spiraling into a deep depression, and was driven mostly by his substance abuse problems.

Russell said he was depressed, furious, and isolated due to his drug use in a court declaration. “All I did was hide in bed all day scrolling thru social media and political forums – looking at blogs or anything that could serve as an outlet for my pent up anger combined with all the pain I was suppressing,” Russell wrote.

Russell also sent Hobbs an apology, saying he had grown addicted to social media and news items but had completed anger management and substance abuse classes. “I am truly sorry for my actions,” Russell wrote Hobbs. “I’m broken, not violent. No one deserves such disrespect.”

Logan advised Russell to read the Constitution in prison and appreciate free and fair elections. The judge dismissed Russell's request for 45 days to organize his affairs, telling him to say farewell to his family.

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