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Judge sentences Ohio man for threatening election official

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs delivers her state of the state address at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Jan. 9, 2023. The Associated Press/Photo by Ross D. Franklin, File

Judge sentences Ohio man for threatening election official

A federal judge sentenced 46-year-old Joshua Russell to 2 ½ years in prison Monday for sending death threats to an Arizona election official. Prosecutors say between August and November 2022, Russell made three such threats to then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, for her handling of the 2020 presidential election results in the hotly contested state.

Russell pleaded guilty last August to one count of making an interstate threatening communication. In court on Monday, Russell called his previous behavior immature and cited his former isolation and drug use as a cause. He also revealed that he has been taking anger management and substance abuse classes.

What is the U.S. Department of Justice doing to safeguard elections? In 2021, the Department of Justice established the Elections Threats Task Force to address threats against election officials and ensure their protection. Reuters cites officials who say Russell’s case is among seven criminal cases in Arizona alone and one of 20 cases brought by the Justice Department’s task force nationwide.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read about efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Johanna Huebscher

Johanna Huebscher is a student at Bob Jones University and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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