A Texas man who suggested a “mass shooting of poll workers” and threatened two Maricopa County officials and their children was sentenced yesterday to three and a half years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Frederick Francis Goltz, 52, pleaded guilty in April to interstate threatening communications. He was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who ordered three years of supervised release following the defendant’s prison term.
“Election workers perform a duty sacred to the body politic. Setting aside their personal political leanings, they help voters of all political persuasions cast their ballots – a ritual vital to the functioning of American democracy. County attorneys perform a similarly vital role in responding to legal challenges in court. Threats against either are unconscionable,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “This particular defendant repeatedly advocated violence against not only these men, but against their children as well. The Justice Department will not stand by as bad actors threaten members of law enforcement or election officials.”
"Our Democracy demands equal access and unencumbered participation. I am in awe of the dedicated workers and public servants that fulfill their duties to ensure that all of our voices can be heard above the noise created by repugnant threats intended to incite fear and physical harm,” said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough. “This noise has no functional place in our society, and the FBI will continue to protect the American people from threats of violence and find justice for victims."
According to court documents, Mr. Goltz threatened several individuals in Arizona – including a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office lawyer and a Maricopa County elections official – on the far-right-wing social media platforms Patriots.win and Gab.com.
In plea papers, Mr. Goltz admitted that on Nov. 21, 2022, he posted the lawyer’s name, purported home address, and purported telephone number on social media along with the sardonic comment, “It would be a shame if someone got to [sic] this children. There are some crazies out there. This kind of info shouldn’t be readily available on the internet.” On the same date, in response to another post referring to other Maricopa County officials, Mr. Goltz said, “Someone needs to get these people AND their children. The children are the most important message to send.”
Just two days later, according to court records, Mr. Goltz responded to a post about the elections official with the comment, “He’s got a WIFE that is a lawyer, too. We need to find out her name and where she works. I don’t think he has kids, but I’m not 100% on that.” When another user commented that kids should be “off limits,” Mr. Goltz responded by saying, “NOTHING is off limits. It’s people like you that are supposedly with us, who don’t have the stomach to do what it takes to get our country back.”
An FBI investigation into Mr. Goltz’s other social media activity revealed a long history of threatening statements against a variety of targets, including government officials, law enforcement officers, and others:
For example, according to court records, on Nov. 13, 2022, Mr. Goltz advocated for "a mass shooting of poll workers and election officials” in precincts he believed had “suspect” results.
A few weeks later, he said he was “willing to take lives” in order to protect against what he called a “tyrannical government.”
According to court records, Mr. Goltz repeatedly emphasized that “children are not off limits,” and said that going after children is important because “it sends a message… people will pay the price for ‘sins of the father.’ Dead children burn into the memories of people.” He also discussed the potential use of concealed firearms.
At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office lawyer testified that he, his wife, and his four children were assigned round-the-clock protection and issued body armor in response to the threat.
The elections official, in a statement read aloud by the prosecutor, said the case went far beyond the two men Mr. Goltz specifically targeted online:
“While I am the person directly threatened in this case, the impact of such threats is felt by a much larger community: the thousands of committed election workers who operate our democratic processes,” the elections official, identified as S.R., said in his victim impact statement. “When threats are made against any election workers, the impact reverberates through the whole community. It creates an atmosphere of fear and apprehension. If those who step forward to serve their community – typically an older demographic – are concerned about intimidation or threats, it could discourage them from participating in future election cycles. This potential chilling effect not only threatens the robust functioning of our electoral processes, but it also strikes at the heart of our democracy itself.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office – Lubbock Resident Agency conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag prosecuted the case with the assistance of National Security Division Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe and Criminal Division Attorney Robert Heberle.