Lawyer representing Ozark County man accused of threatening an Arizona election official says he is ‘embarrassed’

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Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A lawyer representing an Ozark County, Mo. man accused by federal authorities of threatening an Arizona election official says he is ‘embarrassed and humbled’ by the attention on the case.

Walter Lee Hoornstra, 50, of Tecumseh, is charged with one count of communicating an interstate threat and one count of making a threatening telephone call.

According to the indictment, on or about May 19, 2021, Hoornstra allegedly left the following voicemail message on the personal cell phone of the election official: “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 [expletive] job right because other people from other states are watching your ass. You [expletive] renege on this deal or give them any more troubles. Your a** will never make it to your next little board meeting.”

“This is an unfortunate incident for ‘Butch,’ who lives in Tecumseh, Missouri, and has no prior criminal record,” said his lawyer Joe Passanise. “He is a technology professional, husband, father, and grandfather who is also a disabled combat veteran who defended his country during Operation Desert Storm. He is truly embarrassed and humbled by the attention this has brought him and his family. The sheer awesome power of the Federal government can be incredibly intimidating to any citizen once charged. Today, Mr. Hoornstra entered a plea of not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. We look forward to reviewing the government’s case moving forward.”

If convicted, Hoornstra faces up to five years in prison for making a threatening interstate communication and up to two years in prison for making a threatening telephone call. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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