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Press Release

Man Arrested for Making Threats to Arizona Election Office

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Alabama man was arrested today in Cullman, Alabama, for allegedly sending threatening messages to election workers with Maricopa County Elections in Phoenix.

Brian Jerry Ogstad, 59, of Cullman, made his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Huntsville.

“As alleged in the indictment, Brian Ogstad sent threatening messages to a social media account maintained by the Maricopa County Elections office. After referencing claims of voter fraud in Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial race, Ogstad allegedly made a number of threats to election workers and officials, including that they were ‘dead’ and ‘stupid if you think your lives are safe,’” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Public servants who administer our elections — the cornerstone of our democracy — must be able to do their jobs without fear. The Criminal Division will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who target election officials and workers with threats of violence.”

According to an indictment unsealed today, on or about Aug. 2, 2022, Arizona held primary elections for federal and state officeholders, including a gubernatorial primary election that received nationwide media coverage. From the day of the election through on or about Aug. 4, 2022, Ogstad allegedly sent multiple threatening direct messages to an Instagram social media account maintained by Maricopa County Elections. For instance, on or about Aug. 3, 2022, Ogstad allegedly stated (1) “You did it! Now you are [expletive]. Dead. You will all be executed for your crimes”; (2) “[expletive] you! You are caught!  They have it all. You [expletive] are dead”; (3) “You are lying, cheating [expletive] . . . you better not come in my church, my business or send your kids to my school. You are [expletive] stupid if you think your lives are safe”; and (4) “You [expletive] are so dead.” On or about Aug. 4, 2022, Ogstad also allegedly stated “[Y]ou people are so ducking [sic] stupid. Everyone knows you are lots [sic], cheats, frauds and in doing so in relation to elections have committed treason. You will all be executed. Bang [expletive]!”

“We cannot permit election skeptics to threaten vigilante justice,” said U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino for the District of Arizona. “We will continue to prosecute true threats against Arizona’s election officials and other public servants, including direct messages sent on social media, or communications in any other format.”

“The FBI takes all threats of violence seriously,” said Special Agent in Charge Akil Davis of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “The work of election officials, their staffs, and volunteers is essential to our democracy and any threat to these public servants is completely unacceptable. The FBI remains vigilant in our efforts to detect and assess possible threats and, as always, we encourage the public to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

Ogstad is charged with five counts of communicating an interstate threat. If convicted, Ogstad faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.

The FBI Phoenix Field Office is investigating the case, with substantial assistance from the FBI Birmingham Field Office.

Trial Attorney Tanya Senanayake of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Sue Feldmeier for the District of Arizona are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed, or volunteer – are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI Field Offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Over two years after its formation, the task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.

Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Justice Department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.

To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated February 28, 2024

Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 24-226