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Indiana man gets 14 months for threatening life of election clerk after 2020 election

An Indiana man who threatened a Michigan election worker following the 2020 general election was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months' imprisonment. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
An Indiana man who threatened a Michigan election worker following the 2020 general election was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months' imprisonment. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

July 9 (UPI) -- An Indiana man who threatened to kill a Michigan election clerk in the wake of the 2020 election was sentenced Tuesday to a little over a year in prison, prosecutors said.

Andrew Nickels, 37, of Carmel, Ind., received his 14-month sentence after pleading guilty in late February to one count of making a threatening interstate communication, for which he faced up to 5 years behind bars.

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In pleading guilty, he admitted that on Nov. 10, 2020 -- seven days after the election -- he called Tina Barton, who was at that time an election clerk for Rochester hills, and left her a voicemail threatening to slit her throat.

"We're watching your ... mouth talk about how you think that there's no irregularities," Nickels said, according to an excerpt of the message provided by the Justice Department.

"[Y]ou frauded out America of a real election," he continued. "You're gonna pay for it."

He also told her that "10 million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it."

"[W]e'll [expletive] kill you," he said. "Watch your [expletive] back."

Barton on Tuesday said in a statement that despite Nickels' call having been made more than 1,300 days ago, his words remain "forever seared into my memory."

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"The cold, calculated tone of his voice, and the vile, despicable and sexualized language he used to degrade and debase me are something that I hear in my head almost daily. His threat to end my life when I least expected it, robbed me of my sense of security, my peace of mind," she said.

"No one should have to live in fear for their life or endure the trauma that has been inflicted upon me -- especially those dedicated to ensuring our elections are administered fairly and accurately."

U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan said Tuesday that Nickels' sentence should send a message to those who wish to threaten violence to undermine the election system will be prosecuted.

"Threats such as the ones that Nickels made undermine our democracy by making elections workers fearful for their lives and for the safety of their families -- just for doing their jobs," Ison said in a statement.

Nickels was one of several who believed the debunked so-called Big Lie that the November 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump -- who in fact lost to Democratic challenger Joe Biden -- and threatened election workers.

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The issue prompted the Justice Department in June 2021 to launch its Election Threats Task Force, which has resulted in the opening of 16 cases, 11 of which have resulted in prison sentences.

In the other cases, one defendant is awaiting sentencing later this month while three other defendants are working their way through the legal system, according to the Justice Department's website.

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