Nebraska man pleads guilty to threatening Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

· Jun. 19, 2022, 9:41 am
Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks to a reporter in her office, Jan. 30, 2019.Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks to a reporter in her office, Jan. 30, 2019.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks to a reporter in her office, Jan. 30, 2019.

Updated Tuesday, June 21 — 3:18 p.m.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska man pleaded guilty Thursday to posting several threats on an Instagram page associated with Colorado's top election official, Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Travis Ford, 42, of Lincoln, posted the threats in August 2021. The official was not identified by U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan, but Griswold's office confirmed she was the target and said they believe it's one of the first federal prosecutions of its kind since the Justice Department launched a taskforce last year specifically aimed at combatting threats against election officials.

“Threats of violence against election officials are dangerous for people’s safety and dangerous for our democracy, and we will use every resource at our disposal to disrupt and investigate those threats and hold perpetrators accountable,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a news release.

Fords' threats included one that said "Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days… anything can happen to anyone.”

Griswold has been pushing for Colorado to increase the amount of security it allocates to statewide elected officials. Currently only the governor has a full time detail, but state lawmakers this year agreed to make it easier for statewide officials and members of the general assembly to request and receive temporary security from the State Patrol.

Prosecutors said Ford also posted similar messages on Instagram pages associated with President Joe Biden and another public figure, who was not identified.

Ford is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 6. He faces up to two years in prison.

FBI Denver is investigating the case, with the assistance of FBI Omaha.

Editor's Note: This story and its headline have been updated to reflect that Sec. Griswold was the target of the threats.

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