Travis Ford, 42, who wrote the official, “You feel safe? You shouldn’t,” among other hostile messages, is facing up to two years in prison for the threats and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 6, the Justice Department announced.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate illegal threats of violence against public officials,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Threats of violence against election officials are dangerous for people’s safety and dangerous for our democracy, and we will use every resource at our disposal to disrupt and investigate those threats and hold perpetrators accountable.”
Ford’s guilty plea marks one of the first convictions by the department’s Election Threats Task Force, which was established in July of last year, the Washington Post reported. In his Instagram messages, Ford warned that the official’s safety could not be guaranteed.
“Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days….anything can happen to anyone,” he wrote in one ominous message.
“Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t. Do you think Soros will/can protect you,” he added.
In addition to his threats against the election official, he also allegedly made similar posts on Instagram pages “associated with the President of the United States and with another public figure,” the department said.
The FBI’s Denver division is pursuing the case against Ford, according to the department.
“Threatening violence against election workers in an attempt to intimidate them while in performance of their duties will not be tolerated,” FBI Director Christopher Wray declared in a statement. “Threats to election workers have no place in our society, and today’s plea demonstrates the success of our collaborative efforts to ensure the safety of the workers we entrust to effectuate the democratic process.”
The task force has also helped bring charges against at least two other individuals, according to the Washington Post. This includes charges in January against a Texas man for allegedly threatening officials in Georgia and a Las Vegas man for allegedly telling an official she will “f***ing die.”