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The last time lawmen rolled onto Bernie Ellis' Middle Tennessee farm, they were there to arrest him for growing medical marijuana. For that crime, growing a little herb to ease the agony of a few sick and dying people, Ellis spent 18 months in a halfway house. The Scene
told that story in this article
. Today, the law returned. This time it was two TBI agents. According to Ellis, they were there to investigate whether he made a "terrorist threat against a government official," namely Secretary of State Tre Hargett or possibly Elections Coordinator Mark Goins.
The good-humored Ellis is the founder of the group Gathering to Save Our Democracy, which has been working for state legislation to assure that all votes are counted in elections. The TBI agents said they were told Ellis had threatened violence against the Secretary of State's office in an email. Ellis said he's never sent an email to that office, and the agents seemed satisfied and left after a little polite conversation. In an email to friends and supporters about all this, Ellis adds:
I also asked the two TBI agents to deliver a message from me to whoever had caused them to have to drive to my farm today. Before they left, the lead agent repeated my message verbatim to make sure he had it right:
"Mr. Ellis would like whoever issued the complaint against him to grow a pair of balls, 'man up' (the agent's words) and call him at any time to discuss any concerns they may have with him or with anything Mr. Ellis has ever said."
The agent looked to me like he is going to be happy to deliver that message personally.
Mary Mancini has posted Ellis' full email here
. If this is true, it sounds like an attempt at political intimidation. Hargett and Goins have a few questions to answer.