Alabama man charged with threatening Georgia officials in Trump case

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An Alabama man has been charged in connection with threats against the prosecutor who brought the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his allies in Fulton County, Georgia, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta on Wednesday indicted Arthur Ray Hanson II of Huntsville, Alabama, on charges of transmitting interstate threats to injure Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her involvement in the election case, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Hanson made an initial appearance in federal court in Huntsville and will be formally arraigned in Atlanta on Nov. 13, the Justice Department said.

According to court documents, before Trump was indicted in the Fulton County probe in August, Hanson, 59, called the county government's customer service line and left a threatening voicemail for Willis, a Democrat who oversaw charges against Trump and 18 co-defendants related to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state.

In an Aug. 6 voicemail that specifically referred to the forthcoming indictment of Trump in Georgia, Hanson allegedly made threats against Willis and warned her to watch her back when she was alone.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the indictment.

Hanson left another voicemail on Aug. 6 threatening Sheriff Patrick Labat in a message that referred to Trump, according to court documents. The message specifically warned Labat against taking a mug shot of the former president, suggesting that he would be subject to violence if he did so.

The sheriff’s office took mug shots of all the defendants charged in the election case. Trump's photo was released Aug. 24 shortly after he was booked on felony charges. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

In a statement Monday, Labat said he and Willis had been subject to threats of harm “for simply doing our job,” adding that he would continue to serve Fulton County “with the utmost integrity.”

A court document unsealed Monday did not list an attorney for Hanson.

Keri Farley, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Atlanta, said in a statement that threats against public servants were “a threat against our democratic process.”

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Ryan K. Buchanan, also condemned efforts to intimidate prosecutors and law enforcement officers in a statement Monday, saying such a threat is "a vile act intended to interfere with the administration of justice and intimidate" those responsible for protecting people's rights.

It is not the first time charges have been brought in connection with threats against public officials related to their roles in cases involving Trump.

In August, a Texas woman was charged with threatening U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over Trump’s election interference case in Washington, D.C. Trump has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Trump has frequently attacked prosecutors and judges involved in cases brought against him in Georgia, New York and Washington, D.C., though he has been noticeably more restrained in the classified documents case over which U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, one of his appointees, is presiding.

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