California man arrested and accused of threatening Arizona election worker after 2022 vote

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of leaving threatening messages on the personal cellphone of an Arizona election worker he accused of rigging the 2022 election results, federal prosecutors said.

The 52-year-old was charged with one count of communicating an interstate threat and will make an initial court appearance Friday in San Diego, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The defendant left threatening voicemails for a Maricopa County official the day after the certification of the 2022 election results, prosecutors said.

"The indictment alleges that the defendant accused the official of cheating the election and told the official to ‘run’ and ‘hide,’ ” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri said in the statement.

In one voicemail, the defendant said: “You wanna cheat our elections? You wanna screw Americans out of true votes? We’re coming, (expletive)," according to the indictment.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The case is part of a U.S. Justice Department task force that investigates threats of violence against election officials, workers and volunteers.