Man threatened Fani Willis, sheriff in Trump Georgia case, indictment says

By | October 31, 2023

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

The man, Arthur Ray Hanson II, of Huntsville, Alabama, had left threatening messages to Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney, and Patrick Labat, the county sheriff, for their involvement in the case of Georgia during the 2020 presidential election.

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

In a voicemail message to Sheriff Labat, Mr. Hanson threatened the sheriff not to take a photo of “my President Donald Trump,” according to the indictment.

“I’m warning you right away,” Mr. Hanson said, adding that Sheriff Labat could “be very seriously injured.”

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

“Watch him when you go driving at night, when you go into your house, watch everywhere you go,” Mr. Hanson said, according to court records. “When you accuse Trump of this fourth indictment, whenever you are alone, look over your shoulder.”

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

It was not clear whether Mr. Hanson had an attorney. Sheriff Labat and Ms. Willis’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday evening.

Mrs. Willis investigated whether Mr. Trump and his associates violated a Georgia state law after the release of a recording 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 charged in this case in August.

In Fulton County Meeting of the Council of Commissioners In early October, Willis said she had received more than 150 threats in the span of about two months, some of which came from the Fulton County government’s customer service department.

Ms. Willis told the meeting that her team was working to track down and investigate the threats, “but also to keep me alive, which became a real concern for me.”

“I have to have people who are loyal to me and to whom my life matters,” Ms. Willis said.

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

Keri Farley, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta field office, which is investigating the case, said in a statement statement Monday that “threats against public officials are not only illegal, but also pose a threat to our democratic process.”

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

Ryan K. Buchanan, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement statement Monday, threatening prosecutors and law enforcement officers “is a despicable act intended to interfere with the administration of justice and intimidate individuals.”

“When someone threatens to go after public officials for doing their job to enforce our criminal laws, it potentially weakens the very foundations of our society,” he said.

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