Massachusetts man gets prison for making bomb threat to Arizona election office

PHOENIX (AP) — A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to three years and six months in federal prison for making an online threat to bomb then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ election office in February 2021, the U.S. Justice Department said.

James Clark, 40, of Falmouth, pleaded guilty in August in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to sending a communication containing a bomb threat to an election official.

The threat was one of many made against Hobbs, a Democrat, after she certified the 2020 presidential election that then-Republican President Donald Trump claimed without evidence had been stolen.

Democrat Joe Biden won the election in Arizona by about 10,000 votes, or just 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast statewide. Hobbs was elected governor of Arizona in 2023.

An email request for comment was left Wednesday by The Associated Press with Clark's court-appointed federal public defender in Phoenix.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement Tuesday announcing Clark’s sentence.

“Those using illegal threats of violence to intimidate election workers should know that the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable," Garland said.

The FBI arrested Clark in 2022 after tracing a message sent through an online form maintained by the secretary of state’s election department. It warned that Hobbs had to resign "or the explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated.”

Prosecutors said the threat prompted authorities to search Hobbs' home, car and office at the State Capitol Executive Tower in Phoenix and to briefly evacuate the governor's office in the same building.

The case is part of a U.S. Justice Department task force that investigates threats of violence against election officials, workers and volunteers.