Alaska man accused of threatening senators to remain detained ahead of trial

Alaska man accused of threatening senators to remain detained ahead of trial
© Greg Nash

An Alaska man who has been accused of threatening both of the state's U.S. senators will remain detained until at least Oct. 19 ahead of his trial. 

Jay Allen Johnson appeared in court Friday after he allegedly threatened Republican Alaska Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAnti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanAlaska man accused of threatening senators to remain detained ahead of trial Alaska tribal groups race to spend COVID-19 relief money Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Senators slam Pentagon officials MOREThe Associated Press reported.

The 65-year-old left threatening voicemails for both senators for months. The audio, which was played in court, featured Johnson allegedly saying he would kill the senators or hire assassins. 

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“Your life is worth $5,000, that’s all it’s worth,” he allegedly said in a message for Murkowski. “And as you let in these terrorists, assassins, guess what? I’m going to use them. I’m going to hire them.”

“I will be having a Go Fund Me page for the shells, and I’m coming with ... with a [expletive] vengeance,” Johnson said in one of 13 voicemails he left for Sullivan over five months. 

Johnson had been upset about former President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE’s impeachment and illegal immigration, telling Murkowski to resign for her vote to convict Trump in his impeachment trial in January, according to the AP.

“Nobody in this state wanted you to impeach Trump,” a voicemail to Murkowski said. “Just resign and get the f--- gone.”

Johnson testified in court Friday against his lawyer’s advice, apologizing and saying he would never follow through with a threat.

“I’m just prepared to sit in prison the rest of my life, I guess,” he said during the trial. “I’m a senior citizen and I am highly disabled and I will not be carrying out any of these threats.”

Johnson’s wife also testified on his behalf to try to get him released before trial, the AP noted.

“He’s in pain right now. My husband is an old man, and he gets very angry listening to politics on the news,” Catherine Pousson-Johnson said, later responding to a question about if she knew her husband threatened the senators, saying, “Who hasn’t?”

A statement by Murkowski was read in court urging that the man be detained.

“I’m concerned for my personal safety if he is not detained,” assistant U.S. Attorney General Ryan Tansey said, reading a statement from the senator. “And for some reason, he is released. I would like to know what the FBI is doing to ensure my safety and security for the time that I’m here in Alaska.”