WASHINGTON: A Texas man who suggested a “mass shooting of poll workers” in 2022 elections and threatened two Maricopa County, Arizona, officials and their children was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in federal prison, the US justice department said on Friday.
Frederick Francis Goltz, 52, pleaded guilty in April to interstate threatening communications and was sentenced by US district judge James Wesley Hendrix, who also ordered three years of supervised release following the prison term.
Goltz threatened several individuals – including a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office lawyer and a Maricopa County elections official – on the far-right social media platforms Patriots.win and Gab.com, the justice department said. Phoenix, the Arizona state capital, is in Maricopa County.
An FBI investigation into Goltz’ social media activity revealed a long history of threatening statements against targets including government officials and law enforcement officers, prosecutors said.
In November 2022, he advocated for “a mass shooting of poll workers and election officials” in precincts he believed had “suspect” results, prosecutors said in mid-term elections.
A few weeks later, he said he was “willing to take lives” to counter a “tyrannical government,” according to prosecutors.
Goltz repeatedly emphasised “children are not off limits,” prosecutors said.
Some Republican candidates and activists promoted false theories of voter fraud during the 2022 midterm elections.
Kari Lake, a high-profile Republican candidate who lost her bid to become Arizona governor in November, and former President Donald Trump pointed to temporary Election Day problems with electronic vote-counting machines in Maricopa County as evidence that Republican votes were being suppressed.