Man arrested in Denver after allegedly threatening Secretary of State Jena Griswold

A man who allegedly made a threatening phone call against Colorado's top elections official has been charged with retaliating against an elected official, prosecutors said Friday.

Kirk Wertz, 52, was arrested Wednesday in suburban Denver over the June 30 phone call to the office of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold after investigators tracked his cell phone moving from Goodland, Kansas to Colorado, according to a court document. Authorities have not revealed what the alleged threat was. His alleged statements to the person that answered the phone at Griswold's office and to a state trooper who called the number back later were redacted from a document explaining why he was arrested.

A spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Carolyn Tyler, confirmed that Wertz has been charged but declined to elaborate beyond what was included in the document.

Wertz was being held in jail Friday after making his first appearance in court Thursday. There was no attorney listed as representing him yet in court records.

In a statement, Griswold thanked law enforcement for taking action against Wertz and said threats would not deter her from carrying out her election duties.

“The wave of violent threats directed at election officials and workers across the county is extremely concerning, Threats are being used to try to intimidate election officials from doing their jobs in an effort to destabilize democracy," she said.

Last month, a Nebraska man pleaded guilty in Denver federal court to making death threats to Griswold on social media. Officials said it was the first such plea obtained by a federal task force devoted to protecting elections workers across the U.S. who have been subject to increasing threats since the 2020 presidential election.