Man charged with threatening Alaska senators pleads not guilty
An Alaska man pleaded not guilty on Monday after he was charged with threatening Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska), The Associated Press reported.
An attorney for Jay Allen Johnson entered the plea on his client’s behalf, but a judge ordered the man to remain detained, according to the wire service.
Johnson, a resident of Delta Junction, a small city about an hour from Fairbanks, allegedly left several several threatening voicemails to the office phones of Murkowski and Sullivan over the span of some months. Johnson allegedly threatened to burn down Murkowski’s home.
Following the calls, police arrested him and later found two pistols, three revolvers, a rifle and a shotgun in his home. Johnson has previously been been convicted of drunk driving, according to the AP.
Johnson, 65, was indicted on charges of possession of firearms as a felon, threatening to murder a U.S. official and threatening to destroy property by fire. The man faces a 50-year maximum sentence and up to $1.5 million in fines.
At the hearing on Monday at the U.S. District Court of Fairbanks, Johnson told the judge he was “sorry” he had to be there.
“Good morning, Happy Thanksgiving and I’m sorry I’m here today,” he said, according to the AP.
In one voicemail played back during a hearing in October, Johnson told Murkowski he was upset about undocumented immigrants, and threatened to hire terrorists and “assassins” to harm the senator.
“Your life is worth $5,000. That’s all it’s worth,” he reportedly said, according to the AP. “I’m going to use them to come and assassinate your [expletives].”
Johnson reportedly left his name and number in the voicemails.