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US court jails man for sending death threat to election worker

By John Ogunsemore

A 38-year-old man, Andrew Nickels, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison by a federal court in Detroit, Michigan, United States for threatening the life of an election worker soon after the 2020 election.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement published on its website that Nickels, of Carmel, Indiana was sentenced on Tuesday, July 9, for threatening the life of Tina Barton, an election clerk in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Nickels pleaded guilty on February 27 to one count of making a threatening interstate communication.

Head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Nicole M. Argentieri said, “The defendant repeatedly threatened the life of a Michigan election worker because she publicly defended the integrity of the 2020 election that she helped administer.

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“Our democracy depends on the willingness of election workers to do their jobs without having to live in fear. Today’s sentence should serve as yet another reminder that the Justice Department will not hesitate to prosecute those who threaten violence to influence how our public servants administer elections.”

According to court documents, on or about November 10, 2020, Nickels called the clerk of a local municipality and left a voicemail threatening to kill the local official.

As part of the message, Nickels said, in part, “We’re watching your…mouth talk about how you think that there’s no irregularities … [Y]ou frauded out America of a real election.”

Nickels then told the clerk that “you’re gonna pay for it,” and described how “ten million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it.”

He continued, in relevant part: “[W]e’ll [expletive] kill you…[Y]ou will [expletive] pay for your [expletive] lying ass remarks … We will [expletive] take you out. [Expletive] your family, [expletive] your life, and you deserve a [expletive] throat to the knife … Watch your [expletive] back … watch your [expletive] back.”

US Attorney General, Merrick B. Garland said, “The Justice Department has no tolerance for violent threats against election workers, officials, and volunteers, and as this case demonstrates, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute such threats to the fullest extent of the law.

“We will continue to defend the right to vote and to defend the safety of the public servants who make voting possible.”

 

The DoJ said the case is part of its Election Threats Task Force.

Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers—whether elected, appointed, or volunteer—are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation.

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