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Man accused of threatening US senator indicted in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — A man accused of threatening to kidnap and kill a United States senator and his family has been indicted on federal charges in Arizona.

The indictment filed Oct. 9 against James Dean Blevins doesn’t fully identify the victim and instead refers to him as “United States Senator J.F.”

In late September, Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake said his family received death threats after he asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony from a woman who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Officials would not confirm Thursday that “J.F.” in the indictment refers to Flake.

The indictment says the threat was made on Sept. 17 in Arizona and was done with the intent to “retaliate against such official on account of the performance of his official duties.”

Cosme Lopez, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix, declined to say whether the victim is Flake and wouldn’t offer any details about what the alleged threat involved.

Flake’s office didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and email Thursday seeking comment on the indictment.

Flake said in September that a caller told him to quit getting in the way of President Donald Trump’s court choice. Flake says the caller warned he would take Flake and his family “out.”

Flake ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court.

Court records don’t identify where Blevins lives and don’t show that he has been assigned an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

A federal magistrate judge in Chicago signed an order Thursday to send the suspect from custody in Chicago to Arizona, though the order did not say if he was from Illinois.

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Associated Press writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://bit.ly/2GGWEPO.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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