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Missouri man charged with threatening Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer

The Department of Justice has charged a Missouri man for allegedly threatening Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.

Walter Lee Hoornstra, 50, faces charges of communicating an interstate threat and making a threatening phone call.

According to the DOJ, Hoornstra called Richer in May 2021 — while Arizona Senate Republicans were conducting a discredited review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. Hoornstra referenced the so-called audit while criticizing Richer, then ended the call with a threat: that Richer would never make it to his next board meeting.

If convicted of all charges, Hoornstra could face up to seven years in prison.

The investigation stemmed from the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force, launched in 2021 to address escalating threats of violence against election workers.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.