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A Hiawatha man was arrested Thursday on federal charges that he left threatening voicemail messages for an Arizona county election official and an official at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, according to a news release from the United States Department of Justice.
Mark A. Rissi, 64, of Hiawatha, is charged with two counts of making a threatening interstate communication and one count of making a threatening telephone call.
Rissi reportedly left the first message for an official with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — who was not named in the news release or the indictment — on Sept. 27, 2021.
“I am glad that you are standing up for democracy and want to place your hand on the Bible and say that the election was honest and fair. I really appreciate that. When we come to lynch your stupid lying Commie [expletive], you’ll remember that you lied on the [expletive] Bible, you piece of [expletive]. You’re gonna die, you piece of [expletive]. We’re going to hang you. We’re going to hang you,” Rissi said in the message, according to the indictment.
On Dec. 8, 2021, Rissi reportedly left another message with an official from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, who is also unnamed in the indictment but is referred to as Victim-2:
“I’m a victim of a crime. My family is a victim of a crime. My extended family is a victim of a crime. That crime was the theft of the 2020 election. The election that was fraudulent across the state of Arizona, that [Victim-2] knows was fraudulent, that [Victim-2] has images of the conspirators deleting election fraud data from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors computer system. Do your job, [Victim-2], or you will hang with those [expletive] in the end. We will see to it. Torches and pitchforks. That’s your future, [expletive]. Do your job.”
President Joe Biden won the majority of votes in Maricopa County, Ariz., which contains the city of Phoenix, during the 2020 presidential election, but those claiming the election was “stolen” through election fraud have called into question the validity of the votes in the county.
The votes in the county have been audited and investigated several times, both by third-party contractors and by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and no evidence of mass fraud has been found, though Attorney General Mark Brnovich has raised some concerns about voting procedures in the county.
If Rissi is convicted of the three counts against him, he could face up to 12 years in prison. The FBI Phoenix Field Office is investigating the case, with the assistance of the FBI Cedar Rapids Field Office.
Rissi made his initial appearance Thursday at the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, after which the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
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