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Reno man accused of harassing lawmakers on Twitter

Updated September 14, 2021 - 6:52 pm

CARSON CITY — A Reno man accused of using Twitter to send hundreds of politically fueled death threats, racial smears and other harassing messages to Democratic state officeholders has been arrested on multiple counts of aggravated stalking and harassment, according to law enforcement records.

Matthew Carter, 46, is accused of threatening six Democratic officeholders beginning in August last year. He also faces a charge of destroying evidence for attempting to delete tweets he made under pseudonymous Twitter accounts, according to a July 29 complaint from the attorney general’s office obtained by the Review-Journal.

According to tweets referenced in the complaint from Deputy Attorney General James Sibley, Carter was angered by a Democrat-sponsored bill under consideration in the August 2020 special session to expand mail-in balloting and ease other voting procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The legislation, Assembly Bill 4, passed the special session on party lines. Its expanded balloting provisions were made permanent in another bill passed in regular session this year.

Using a racial epithet, a Twitter user identified in the complaint as Carter wrote to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, on Aug. 1, 2020, and said, “I will find you and you will pay for AB4!”

Another tweet written Aug. 3 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, read: “When @realDonaldTrump gets re-elected we are going to put the DemoKKKratic party on the terrorist watch list. Then when you open the door in the morning I can kill you legally as a terrorist. Thank you Obama!”

In another to Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, a Twitter user identified as Carter wrote, “After I am done with you mail in ballots will be a thing of the past in all 50 states.”

In other tweets referenced in the complaint and linked to Carter, he wrote darker threats and invoked Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan.

“What goes around comes around. We are going to label the DemoKKKratic party as a terrorist organization and you know what happens to terrorists!” read another tweet sent to Cohen.

Another sent to Frierson, Yeager and state Treasurer Zach Conine read, “Prepare your family I will murder you in front of your children,” per the complaint. Direct messages also went to then-state Sen. Yvanna Cancela and Assemblywoman Brittney Miller, both D-Las Vegas.

Cancela, who resigned from the Senate in January to take a post in Washington in President Biden’s new administration, returned to Nevada this month to serve as Gov. Steve Sisolak’s chief of staff.

The tweets listed in the complaint are “among hundreds of harassing, insulting, offensive, and derogatory messages sent or posted by Carter” to numerous officeholders “over a period of more than a year” through multiple accounts. When one account was locked or suspended for violating Twitter’s terms of service, Carter, per the complaint, created new ones “in order to continue to harass his victims via direct messaging” or by tagging them by Twitter handle in other tweets and replies, according to the complaint.

His “perseverant and obsessive pattern of conduct served to further induce and sustain reasonable fear in his victims that Carter’s threats would be carried out,” the complaint charges. In Yeager’s case, his “fixation on and harassment of victim Yeager has continued for more than a year and is ongoing,” according to the complaint.

Washoe County jail records indicate Carter was arrested and jailed Aug. 13. He was still being held on $25,000 bond Tuesday on three counts of aggravated stalking, a felony, and six counts of harassment, a misdemeanor. The charge of destroying evidence is also a misdemeanor. He is a scheduled for an Oct. 18 court appearance.

John Sadler, a spokesman for Attorney General Aaron Ford, said the office would not comment on a pending case

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