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Man charged with threatening Alaska's senators to change plea

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The Delta Junction man who’s accused of threatening to kill Alaska’s two U.S. senators now wants to change the not-guilty plea he entered last month.

Jay Allen Johnson’s attorney filed a Notice of Intent to Change Plea on Friday with the U.S. District Court for Alaska. A hearing on the plea change is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 30 before federal Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec.

Johnson pleaded not guilty on Nov. 22 to six federal charges related to voicemail messages he allegedly called-in to the offices of both Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan earlier this year.

Federal prosecutors say the 65-year-old Johnson threatened among other things to kill Murkowski and destroy her property, apparently because he disagreed with her politics, especially her criticism of former President Trump. Johnson also threatened Sullivan.

The 65-year-old Johnson has been held at Fairbanks Correctional Center since federal officers arrested him on Oct. 4.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson today referred questions about the plea change to Johnson’s attorney, Jason Weiner. Weiner didn’t respond to emails Monday, and his office said Tuesday he’s unavailable for comment until after the holidays.

Tim Ellis has been working as a KUAC reporter/producer since 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in broadcast, print and online journalism.