Man Hit With 20-Year Felony Charge For Allegedly Threatening Election Official

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A man in Michigan is now facing criminal accusations that could land him with up to 20 years in prison after allegedly commenting after elections late last year that a local official helping run the process should be hung for “treason.”

The defendant is a man named Andrew Fred Hess, who was charged by local authorities in Oakland County, Michigan, and the alleged incident, which was relayed to law enforcement by a witness, took place in the middle of December of last year. “During the recount, when challenges were being filed, the defendant is alleged to have walked outside of the recount room and stated “hang Joe for treason,”” recapped a press release from the prosecutors. That’s the first name of the county’s Director of Elections.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald characterized the situation as a threat towards the broader functioning of democracy in addition to the impacts on that individual official or a related target. There “are individuals who seek to undermine the integrity of the election process by threatening and intimidating election workers and supervisors,” she said in prepared remarks. “Those threats don’t just impact our election workers, they put democracy at risk, and they will not be tolerated. I will do everything within my power to hold those who make such threats accountable.”

While there is no specific indication in authorities’ discussion of the case of a direct link back to Trump, the alleged incident comes, of course, against the backdrop of his years of lies and public antagonism around the electoral process in the United States, which he’s claimed without evidence to be systematically corrupted. It’s the conspiracy theory that drove the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol of early 2021 — and a set of lies that Trump refuses to discard, instead basing much of his current campaign for president on the deception. And some of those ensnared in Trump circles’ conspiracy theories have faced serious threats to their safety in the aftermath.