Here’s why Clint Hickman wanted mercy for man who made election-related threats against him

Aug 29, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:10 pm

Clint Hickman (Maricopa County Photo)...

Clint Hickman (Maricopa County Photo)

(Maricopa County Photo)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman sat in a courtroom Monday and asked for mercy for the Iowa man who was found guilty of sending threatening messages to him regarding the 2020 election.

Hickman, a Republican, asked for leniency for Mark Rissi, 64, of Hiawatha, despite Rissi leaving Hickman a voicemail that ended with “You’re gonna die, you piece of [expletive]. We’re going to hang you. We’re going to hang you” in September 2021.

Rissi was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Dominic Lanza, a sentence that Lanza said needed to happen, according to Hickman.

“I gave the judge the ability to offer mercy and compassion for a guy that should not be spending maybe some of his last years on this earth in a jail cell,” Hickman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday. “And I asked for compassion and mercy.”

“The judge heard that and then the judge said, ‘Listen, we have to prove a point. This is the judicial system and punishment needs to be meted out.'”

What were the threats Rissi made?

Hickman and former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich were the targets of Rissi nearly a year after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump for the presidency.

Rissi reached out to Hickman before leaving Brnovich, also a Republican, this voicemail in December 2021.

“This message is for Attorney General Mark Brnovich … I’m a victim of a crime. My family is a victim of a crime. My extended family is a victim of a crime. That crime was the theft of the 2020 election. The election that was fraudulent across the state of Arizona, that the Attorney General knows was fraudulent, that the Attorney General has images of the conspirators deleting election fraud data from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors computer system. Do your job, Brnovich, or you will hang with those [expletive] in the end. We will see to it. Torches and pitchforks. That’s your future, [expletive]. Do your job.”

Rissi pleaded guilty to two counts of making a threatening interstate communication in April and could have faced up to five years in prison on each count.

“I purposely had the prosecution read the threat into the public record to hear what this man said,” Hickman said.

“I wanted to be there to look at this man in the eye, five states over… I wanted him to know, to see me in the flesh and go like, “You and what army, buddy?’ And it didn’t happen for him.”

The effect of the election threats

Hickman said his 94-year-old father called him Monday to tell him he was worried about his family and hoped threats and any discussion regarding them would come to an end soon.

Hickman admitted the threat did cause harm to his family.

“The madness needs to stop,” Hickman said. “We need to be better to our fellow man.”

He encouraged those interested in politics to not shy away from entering the field despite his experiences.

“Please don’t let this scare you away,” Hickman said. “Come and work in the election system. [2024] is going to be a huge election for our country and our country’s future.”

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Here’s why Clint Hickman wanted mercy for man who made election-related threats against him