"An Alabama man has been indicted after allegedly threatening the Georgia district attorney who is prosecuting former president Donald Trump and several of his associates for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Authorities say the man also threatened the sheriff whose jail briefly processed Trump.
Arthur Ray Hanson II faces charges of transmitting interstate threats to injure Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Sheriff Patrick Labat, federal prosecutors announced Monday. The 59-year-old Huntsville man’s case is being investigated by the FBI.
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, but also a threat against our democratic process,” said Keri Farley, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office.
Threats against officials are becoming more of a problem as politics becomes more polarized, experts say.
A report released in May by the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University based on interviews with 30 public officials across the political spectrum and from different regions indicates that many people think twice before running for office because of threats or discomfort they may face. Local officials are largely defenseless, and one respondent said there seems to be a “new level of permission to be publicly vile,” The Washington Post reported.
Trump and 18 of his allies were charged in Georgia in August for allegedly trying to overturn President Biden’s 2020 victory in the hotly contested state. Trump was charged with 13 counts. The charges include violating the state’s racketeering act, soliciting a public officer to violate their oath, conspiring to impersonate a public officer, conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree and conspiring to file false documents.
Soon after his indictment, Trump surrendered in Fulton County and was processed through its jail. As a result, one of the most famous people on earth had his mug shot taken.
On Aug. 6, before the indictment came down later that month, Hanson called the Fulton County Government customer service line twice, prosecutors said. He left two voice mails, first for Labat, then for Willis.
“If you think you gonna take a mug shot of my President Donald Trump and it’s gonna be okay, you gonna find out that after you take that mug shot, some bad s---’s probably gonna happen to you,” Hanson is allegedly recorded as saying.
He continued: “Whether you got a g--d--- badge or not ain’t gonna help you none.”
Hanson then left an ominous message for Willis, according to prosecutors, in which Hanson told Willis to “watch it when you’re going to the car at night, when you’re going into your house, watch everywhere that you’re going. … I would be very afraid if I were you, because you can’t be around people all the time that are going to protect you. … When you charge Trump on that fourth indictment, anytime you’re alone, be looking over your shoulder.”
Prosecutors said he ended by saying: “What you put out there, b----, comes back at you 10 times harder, and don’t ever forget it.”
In a statement, Labat thanked the FBI and federal prosecutors. He said threats do not deter him from serving the county.
“Threats of harm were directed towards me and District Attorney Willis for simply doing our job,” Labat said.
Four of the 19 indicted in the Georgia case have pleaded guilty as of last week.
Hanson is scheduled for an arraignment in Atlanta on Nov. 13."