Black lawmaker who admonished Giuliani and GOP at hearing says she’s receiving lynching threats

State representatives and election officials on both sides of the political aisle face threats and abuse as president continues promoting false claims about the national vote

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Monday 07 December 2020 17:36
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Rudy Giuliani asks a woman at a Michigan hearing to remove her mask

A Democratic lawmaker in Michigan said she has received death threats after admonishing her Republican colleagues at a recent hearing featuring Rudy Giuliani for “allowing people to come in here and lie.”

State Representative Cynthia Johnson, a Black woman and Democrat from Detroit, said in a Facebook post she received apparent lynching threats, posting the voicemails she said she received on her phone to a Dropbox link on her Facebook page.

A woman can be heard in the voicemail shouting at Ms Johnson for “bullying” witnesses at the hearing. The person leaving the voicemail makes several threats, saying the Democrat had been “doxxed” and her information was now exposed on the web, adding: “You’re so f***ing done, you’ll be swinging from the rope, you Democrat.”

Ms Johnson did not mince words when she joined the state’s House Oversight Committee hearing last week, in which Mr Giuliani — who has since tested positive for Covid-19 — appeared without a face mask alongside other witnesses whose claims of alleged voter fraud have already been discredited and dismissed by state and federal judges.

She told reporters Mr Giuliani and the rest of the president’s allies were “trying to sow doubt into this election” before concluding: “This is a done deal.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have spoken out about the death threats they’ve been receiving from apparent supporters of the president upset with his electoral defeat, and others who may believe the debunked conspiracy theories falsely claiming mass voter fraud in the 2020 election.

To date, there is no credible evidence of widespread corruption in the national vote, and the Department of Homeland Security has described the latest election as the “most secure” in US history.

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Republican secretaries of state have become the subject of the president’s tweets as well as threats from voters across the country. In one instance, Gabriel Sterling, a senior GOP election official in Georgia, described the threats and abuse he faced in recent weeks while presiding over the vote count.

“A twenty-something [voting technician] in Gwinnett county today has death threats and a noose put out saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from a [voting machine] to a county computer so he could read it. It has to stop,” he said at an emotional press conference earlier this month. “My boss, [Georgia Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger, his address is out there. They have people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come on to their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cellphone. It has to stop.”

“This is elections,” he continued. “This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much. Yes, fight for every legal vote. Go through your due process. We encourage you. Use your first amendment. That’s fine.”

Mr Sterling added: “Death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it’s too much. It’s not right. They’ve lost the moral high ground to claim that it is.”

Lawmakers have meanwhile expressed concern after news broke of Mr Giuliani’s diagnosis, with the Arizona state legislature closing for the week “out of an abundance of caution” following the lawyer’s appearance last week.

It remained unclear when Mr Giuliani first tested positive for Covid-19 or learned of his diagnosis. The Trump campaign said in a statement he tested negative during his travels last week and that no lawmakers were included in his contact tracing list. 

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