Alabama man charged with threatening Fulton DA, sheriff over Trump investigation

Federal authorities have charged an Alabama man with threatening two Fulton County law enforcement officials in connection with the investigation of former President Donald Trump.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta charged Arthur Ray Hanson II of Huntsville with two counts of transmitting interstate threats to injure Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Sheriff Patrick Labat. According to an indictment issued last Wednesday, Hanson called the county’s customer service line on Aug. 6 – a week before Trump was indicted – and first left a threatening and expletive-filled voicemail for Labat.

“If you think you gonna take a mugshot of my President Donald Trump and it’s gonna be ok, you gonna find out that after you take that mugshot, some bad (expletive) probably gonna happen to you,” the voicemail said, according to the indictment.

Among other things, the voicemail also said, “I’m warning you right now before you (expletive) up your life and get hurt real bad,” “whether you got a (expletive) badge or not ain’t gonna help you none” and “you gonna get (expletive) up you keep (expletive) with my president.”

Authorities said Hanson, 59, later that day called the customer service line again and targeted Willis. The voicemail advised her to “watch it when you’re going to the car at night, when you’re going into your house, watch everywhere that you’re going.”

The voicemail also said “I would be very afraid if I were you because you can’t be around people all the time that are going to protect you,” “there’s gonna be moments when you’re gonna be vulnerable,” “when you charge Trump on that fourth indictment, anytime you’re alone, be looking over your shoulder” and” what you put out there, (expletive) comes back at you ten times harder, and don’t ever forget it.”

The indictment was unsealed Monday. An arrest warrant for Hanson was issued Oct. 26.

Hanson appeared Monday before a federal magistrate judge in Huntsville where he was formally charged. He was released on a $5,000 appearance bond. Other conditions of the bond were not immediately available.

“Sending interstate threats to physically harm prosecutors and law enforcement officers is a vile act intended to interfere with the administration of justice and intimidate individuals who accept a solemn duty to protect and safeguard the rights of citizens,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a press release on Monday announcing the charge. “When someone threatens to harm public servants for doing their jobs to enforce our criminal laws, it potentially weakens the very foundation of our society.”

Willis recently said she has received numerous death threats for pursuing charges against Trump and 18 others for an alleged illegal scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Her office declined to comment on Monday.

“Threats of harm were directed towards me and District Attorney Willis for simply doing our job,” Labat said in a statement issued Monday.

Labat thanked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on the case. He said he would continue to “serve the citizens of Fulton County with the utmost integrity.”

Staff writer Chris Joyner contributed to this report