By Linda So

(Reuters) -U.S. federal brokers arrested a Nevada man for threatening a state election employee final 12 months and telling her that she was “going to f—— die” for stealing the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump, the Justice Division stated on Thursday, the second arrest in per week by its election threats process power.

Gjergi Luke Juncaj, 50, of Las Vegas was taken into custody on Wednesday and appeared in federal courtroom in Nevada on Thursday, charged with 4 counts of creating threatening telephone calls, the Justice Division stated in a press release. If convicted, he faces a most penalty of two years in jail on every depend.

The Justice Division’s election threats process power was introduced final June, shortly after Reuters revealed the primary in a sequence of investigative stories which have documented greater than 850 threats and menacing messages to U.S. election staff, together with about 100 that authorized specialists say might be prosecuted beneath federal legislation. Nearly all the threats have been impressed by Trump’s relentless false claims that the 2020 vote was “rigged” towards him, Reuters discovered.

Justice Division officers say they’re now investigating dozens of comparable instances. The duty power revealed its first arrest on Jan. 21, when it charged a Texas man with making violent threats towards Georgia election and authorities officers. Prosecutors accused Chad Christopher Stark of posting a Craigslist message on Jan. 5, 2021 entitled, “Georgia Patriots it is time to kill.” Reuters couldn’t attain Stark, who will seem in courtroom on Feb. 4.

Juncaj’s threats towards Staci McElyea, a employee within the Nevada Secretary of State’s Workplace, had been first revealed in a Reuters investigation revealed on Sept. 8. The story detailed how Juncaj repeatedly instructed McElyea that she and her colleagues can be killed, in line with her documentation of the calls, which had been made on Jan. 7, 2021.

After the threats, McElyea, a former U.S. Marine, known as the Nevada Capitol Patrol and despatched the state police company a transcript of the calls, Reuters beforehand reported. An officer contacted the person, whom police would later establish as Juncaj.

Regardless of Juncaj’s a number of threatening calls, state police determined to not cost Juncaj, Reuters discovered. State detectives concluded that Juncaj’s threats had been “protected” political speech and never legal, as a result of the suspect merely stated he “wished” election staff would die, in line with a abstract of the case.

The Reuters report, nevertheless, contradicted the detective’s evaluation. McElyea’s transcripts of the calls present that the person repeatedly instructed her she and her colleagues can be killed. “That is what you’re going to f—— get any further,” her transcript quotes the caller as saying. “You’re all going to f—— die, and it’s what you deserve.”

Juncaj couldn’t instantly be reached for touch upon Thursday. He instructed Reuters in an interview for the September report that he “didn’t threaten anyone.”

Following the Reuters story, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into Juncaj, in line with a Nevada state authorities supply.

The indictment is the duty power’s second case, and the third identified federal cost total for threatening election staff because the 2020 vote. In December 2020, federal prosecutors charged a New Hampshire girl with threatening a Michigan official.

Federal authorities are additionally investigating an nameless man who threatened Vermont officers, native legislation enforcement sources acquainted with the probe instructed Reuters. That man’s threats had been featured in a November Reuters investigation In response to that report, Vermont lawmakers are contemplating new laws to make it simpler to prosecute individuals who threaten election officers.

“Election officers everywhere in the nation are being threatened and harassed, and people partaking on this home terrorism have to be held accountable,” stated David Becker, govt director of the nonpartisan Middle for Election Innovation and Analysis.

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