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A man who threatened Colorado’s secretary of state on Instagram faces two years in prison.


A Nebraska man pleaded responsible on Thursday to threatening Colorado’s secretary of state on Instagram final 12 months, the primary conviction ensuing from the work of a Justice Department job pressure targeted on combating the intimidation of election officers.

Federal prosecutors mentioned Travis Ford, 42, of Lincoln, Neb., would face up to two years in prison for the social media posts. Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat with whom Republican allies of former President Donald J. Trump have tussled concerning her overseeing of elections, together with the 2020 presidential contest, recognized herself because the goal.

The job pressure, created final 12 months in response to a rising quantity of threats against election officials, has publicly disclosed three prison circumstances to date. One of the others includes a Texas man who is accused of sending election-related threats to officials in Georgia; the third facilities on a Nevada man who the authorities say made menacing phone calls to an election employee in the Nevada secretary of state’s workplace. Both of these circumstances are pending.

The threats in opposition to Ms. Griswold started together with her wishing her companion a contented anniversary on her private Instagram account final August. A torrent of insults flooded the replies part, some calling her a traitor and others extra ominous in their tone.

Two posts in specific unnerved Ms. Griswold’s workplace, which reported them to regulation enforcement officers. The first one referred to George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic Party donor whom these on the political proper have accused of having an outsize affect over elections.

“Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t. Do you think Soros will/can protect you?”

About ten days later, the identical account left one other, extra menacing remark on the identical photograph.

“Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you,” the remark learn. “This world is unpredictable these days … anything can happen to anyone.”

Ms. Griswold’s workplace confirmed the authenticity of the posts, which nonetheless appeared on Instagram as of Friday and had been cited in court docket paperwork from the Justice Department. The posts had been eliminated later in the day by Meta, the social media firm that owns Instagram and Facebook, following an inquiry from The New York Times. The firm didn’t instantly remark.

A lawyer for Mr. Ford, who stays free and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 6, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark on Friday.

In an announcement asserting that Mr. Ford had pleaded responsible, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland mentioned on Thursday that the Justice Department wouldn’t tolerate such threats.

“Threats of violence against election officials are dangerous for people’s safety and dangerous for our democracy,” Mr. Garland mentioned.

Ms. Griswold, who is searching for re-election this 12 months as Colorado’s high election official, mentioned that she would by no means be deterred from doing her job.

“Elections officials across the country have been facing increased threats,” Ms. Griswold mentioned. “It is heartening to see the Department of Justice taking these threats seriously and prosecuting people who make threats against election officials based on the Big Lie.”

Like a bunch of Democrats in cost of voting, Ms. Griswold has been engaged in a collection of authorized feuds with Republican election supervisors in a number of counties.

In May, a Colorado decide sided with Ms. Griswold in a lawsuit in opposition to Tina Peters, a pro-Trump election supervisor who is working in the Republican main for secretary of state. The decide blocked Ms. Peters from overseeing elections this 12 months in Mesa County after she was indicted in March on charges that she tampered with voting equipment after the 2020 election.

Ms. Peters, clinging to conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump, will seem on the highest line of the Republican main poll on June 28. She shouldn’t be the one pro-Trump election official Ms. Griswold has accused of breaching voting gear in Colorado.

In April, Dallas Schroeder, the Elbert County clerk and recorder, was ordered by a decide to give up to the secretary of state all exterior copies of a voting machine onerous drive that he had acknowledged making with a scanning system earlier than a software program replace in August 2021.



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