IOWA — Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced the arrest of Mark Rissi, 64, of Hiawatha, Iowa, on suspicion of leaving a voicemail in September 2021 for Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman. Prosecutors say Rissi’s message threatened to lynch Hickman.
“This wasn’t a prank call. This wasn’t protected speech. This was a serious threat to me and my family,” Hickman said Thursday in a statement, which called out other Arizona leaders for what he called their silence as election officials endured two years of threats.
Prosecutors say Rissi left a voicemail weeks later with the Arizona Attorney General claiming the 2020 general election in Arizona was fraudulent and telling prosecutors, “Do your job … or you will hang with those (expletive) in the end. We will see to it. Torches and pitchforks. That’s your future.”
Election officials in Arizona and other battleground states have been subjected to threats and intimidation by some Trump supporters since the 2020 election.
Rissi — who was to appear in an Iowa federal court Thursday — faces up to five years in prison if convicted of each of two counts of making a threatening interstate communication and up to two years for a single count of making a threatening telephone call.
Rissi’s case did not appear in online court records Thursday, and it wasn’t clear whether he yet had an attorney.