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Nebraska man pleads guilty to threatening election official

Travis Ford, 42, of Lincoln, faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Attorney General Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on Jun. 8, 2022.Alex Brandon / AP file

A Nebraska man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court, admitting he posted threatening messages about an election official in Colorado

Travis Ford, 42, of Lincoln, told a federal judge that he posted the messages on Instagram after the 2020 election. According to court documents, one said, “Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t. Do you think Soros will/can protect you?”

Another said, “Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. The world is unpredictable these days....anything can happen to anyone,” followed by a man-shrugging emoji.

The election official was not named in court documents, but the threats appeared as comments last year in a posting on the personal Instagram page of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat. Ford believed she mismanaged the 2020 election, according to court documents.

Investigators said she “expressed fear after viewing these two comments and provided them to law enforcement.”

Prosecutors said Ford told law enforcement officers in an interview that his posts went “far far far beyond free speech” and “far past the line.”  

He pleaded guilty to using a telecommunications device to issue a threat and faces up to two years in prison. The judge set Oct. 6 as the date for his sentencing.

“Elections officials across the country have been facing increased threats. It is heartening to see the Department of Justice taking these threats seriously and prosecuting people who make threats against election officials based on the Big Lie,” Griswold said after Ford entered his plea.

The case was brought by a Justice Department task force formed last year to address threats of violence against election workers. “We will use every resource at our disposal to disrupt and investigate these threats and hold perpetrators accountable,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Other cases brought by the task force involve threats to election officials in Georgia and Nevada.