Iowa man pleads guilty in Arizona election threats case


PHOENIX (AP) – An Iowa man pleaded guilty Thursday to threatening two Arizona officials in messages that mentioned discredited allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.

Federal prosecutors said 64-year-old Mark Rissi of Hiawatha left voicemail messages targeting Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, both Republicans.

Rissi pleaded guilty to two counts of making a threatening interstate communication. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Prosecutors said Rissi’s message for Hickman was left Sept. 27, 2021, three days after a technology firm called Cyber Ninjas released a report alleging a wide range of election improprieties in Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix area. Experts said the report, which was commissioned by Republican leaders of the state Senate, was riddled with errors, bias and flawed methodology.

More than two months later, as Brnovich was under pressure from election deniers to charge people with election fraud, prosecutors say Rissi left another message telling him to “do your job” and threatening violence.

The Justice Department has charged at least two others with threatening election officials in Arizona, where supporters of former President Donald Trump have focused anger over his loss.


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