IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man charged with leaving a threatening voicemail telling Gov. Kim Reynolds she should be “hung for treason” defended his comments Thursday as free speech, saying he was expressing opposition to COVID-19 restrictions.

Harvey Hunter Jr., 48, is charged with first-degree harassment for the profane Jan. 5 message he left on a governor’s office phone line set up to gather input over whether Reynolds should continue the partial statewide mask mandate.

Hunter called the GOP governor a dictator and said “every single one of you need to be hung for treason for pushing this COVID scam,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Polk County. Growing more intense, Hunter called Reynolds two derogatory names for women and said “you need to be put in front of a firing squad,” the complaint said.

Hunter last month turned himself in to face the charge, an aggravated misdemeanor…

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