Since vocally defending the 2020 presidential election results, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) reported a fusillade of threats that began shortly after the race and ratcheted up again in the wake of a partisan “forensic audit.”
On Friday, federal authorities arrested one of the men accused of threatening to harm her — allegedly, through a bomb threat on Valentine’s Day of 2021.
Prosecutors say that James W. Clark, a 38-year-old from Falmouth, Mass., filled out the web form of the Elections Division of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office on Feb. 14, 2021.
In the message, prosecutors say, Clark wrote that if Hobbs didn’t resign within two days an “explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated.”
Clark’s indictment shielded the identity of the elections official as “VICTIM-1.” Though the message allegedly addressed the target as the “attorney general,” Hobbs’ office confirmed that the secretary of state was the person referenced. The message also referred to the official as a woman, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) is a man.
Some four days after that missive, Clark allegedly searched for the official’s address and “how to kill” her, followed by other web searches for “fema boston marathon bombing” and “fema boston marathon bombing plan digital army,” according to the indictment.
Clark faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of making a bomb threat and five-year maximum sentences should he be found guilty of additional counts of a bomb hoax and making a threatening interstate communication.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division credited Clark’s prosecution to the Election Threats Task Force established by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Illegal threats of violence put election officials and workers at risk and undermine the bedrock of our democracy: free and fair elections,” Polite said.
U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino, from the District of Arizona, sounded a similar note.
“Throughout Arizona, we are fortunate to have highly professional state, county and local officials who administer elections in a fair and impartial manner,” Restaino said in a statement. “Democracy requires that we support those officials, and that we take seriously allegations of threats or violence against them.”
Weeks after the presidential election, Hobbs released a Nov. 18th statement linking threats against her to “misinformation” peddled by then-President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress.
“It is well past time that they stop,” Hobbs wrote at the time.” Their words and actions have consequences.”
After the GOP-dominated Arizona Senate backed a partisan election review by the firm Cyber Ninjas, Hobbs told Law&Crime in an interview that she faced “renewed threats.”
“The level of harassment and — just — attacks on my office from every angle has not let up, and there are renewed threats, leading to me having to have a security detail for the second time,” Hobbs said on Law&Crime’s podcast “Objections: with Adam Klasfeld.” “It’s not part of my job to have that. But it’s the second time in the last six months that it’s happened.”
The Cyber Ninjas review amplified unfounded suspicion about Joe Biden’s victory in the state — but ultimately released a report stating that Trump lost by a wider margin than the official counts hold.’ The firm’s self-styled “forensic audit” had a $5.2 million price tag, financed by Trump loyalists with contributions by Arizona taxpayers.
The firm’s bizarre methods included searching for watermarks under ultraviolet light, measuring ballot thickness, and inspecting ballots for bamboo fibers, a hunt guided by the proposition that tens of thousands of ballots were flown in from Asia.
“Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections—and perhaps providing financial support because of their use—they do little other than further marginalize the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit,’” the secretary wrote in early 2021.
Hobbs announced her run for Arizona governor a little more than a year ago, in June 2021. On Twitter, she speaks about the threats against her in a video embedded in pinned tweet.
Read the indictment below:
(Image via screengrab from KNXV-TV)
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