ARIZONA NEWS

Missouri man accused of threatening Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer

Aug 17, 2022, 10:02 AM | Updated: 10:05 am

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Recorder's Office)...

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Recorder's Office)

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Recorder's Office)

PHOENIX – A Missouri man is under indictment for allegedly leaving a threating voicemail on Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s personal cellphone, authorities said Wednesday.

Walter Lee Hoornstra, 50, of Tecumseh, was indicted Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on two counts: making an interstate threat, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, and making a threatening interstate phone call, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.

“Greatly appreciate the FBI acting on this threat,” Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday. “They, as well as some local law enforcement, have been fantastic. Unfortunately, we have plenty more to keep them busy for a while.”

Elections officials around the nation have faced a rising wave of harassment and intimidation tied to the 2020 presidential election that has carried over into the 2022 midterms. The efforts have especially targeted election workers in battleground states like Arizona where Donald Trump contested his loss to President Joe Biden.

According to Tuesday’s indictment, Hoornstra allegedly left the following message on Richer’s phone on May 19, 2021:

“So, I see you’re for fair and competent elections, that’s what it says here on your homepage for your recorder position you’re trying to fly here. But you call things unhinged and insane lies when there’s a forensic audit going on. You need to check yourself. You need to do your f—ing job right because other people from other states are watching your ass. You f—ing renege on this deal or give them any more troubles, your ass will never make it to your next little board meeting.”

The call was made while contractors, on behalf of state Senate Republican leadership, were conducting a review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. Richer, a Republican, wasn’t in office during the election; he was a candidate, defeating incumbent Democrat Adrian Fontes.

Richer was in office at the time of the so-called audit and was outspoken in defending the integrity of the 2020 election. He also questioned the ability and motives of Cyber Ninjas, the now-defunct Florida firm that was hired to lead the review despite having no election experience.

During Monday’s canvass of the recent primary election in Maricopa County, Richer detailed the types of threats his office has been receiving. He also said the county attorney’s office is looking into the cases.

The FBI’s Phoenix office is investigating the federal threat case as part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force.

“The FBI is committed to vigorously investigating and holding accountable anyone who threatens election workers,” Luis Quesada, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a press release.

“These public servants protect our fundamental right to vote by administering fair and free elections. Any attempts to interfere with our elections by intimidating election officials, their staffs, and volunteers with threats of violence will not be tolerated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes answers questions in Phoenix after winning his election in...

Kevin Stone

Arizona Sec. Adrian Fontes explains how Joe Biden’s withdrawal affects state elections

How will Joe Biden's withdrawal affect Arizona elections? "We'll be OK with that," Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said Monday.

58 minutes ago

(Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)...

KTAR.com

Romero, Circle fires threatening land near Kearny in rural Arizona

Crews are working toward containment on two large fires threatening farm land in rural Arizona near Kearny, officials said Sunday.

2 hours ago

People in the Valley are without power after weekend outages...

KTAR.com

Power mostly restored across metro Phoenix morning after storms rolled through

Over 200 people in the Valley went without power early Monday morning, according to the Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service.

4 hours ago

Hemisphere GNSS Inc agreed to settle false claims allegations...

Payne Moses

Arizona GPS company agrees to pay $2.6M to settle false claims allegations

Hemisphere GNSS Inc., an Arizona satellite GPS manufacturer, agreed to pay $2.6M to settle false claims allegations.

5 hours ago

Etta restaurant in Scottsdale to close temporarily after sale...

KTAR.com

Scottsdale restaurant Etta to close temporarily after sale

Etta, the Italian-inspired neighborhood restaurant in Scottsdale Quarter, is temporarily closing for renovations beginning Monday.

5 hours ago

Judge serving justice in court...

KTAR.com

Phoenix man convicted of assaulting officer, human smuggling south of Tucson

A 55-year-old Phoenix man was convicted of crimes related to the assault of a federal officer and human smuggling last week.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Missouri man accused of threatening Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer