Michigan AG Charges Man Who Made Death Threats Against Biden, Pelosi And Whitmer

Attorney Dana Nessel, surrounded by her family, announces her bid for Michigan Attorney General in Braun Court Ann Arbor on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
Attorney Dana Nessel, surrounded by her family, announces her bid for Michigan Attorney General in Braun Court Ann Arbor on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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March 16, 2021 6:09 p.m.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday announced charges against a man for making death threats against President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Michigan resident Joshua Docter, 21, is charged with one count of threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime. Both felony charges carry a 20-year maximum sentence, according to Docter’s charging document filed Monday.

Nessel’s office said in a statement that Docter turned himself on Tuesday and was arraigned on the charges.

The attorney general’s office said the FBI opened Docter’s case after the agency received tips regarding allegations that the Michigan man posted threatening posts on the social media platform iFunny.

Michigan State Police took on Docter’s case afterward, and referred the case to the state’s attorney general office for prosecution, Nessel’s office said.

“Threatening elected officials is against the law and my office will prosecute those who attempt to intimidate or terrorize our state and federal leaders,” Nessel said in a statement on Tuesday.

Multiple threatening comments were allegedly posted by Docter on iFunny in January. According to the statement issued by Nessel’s office, Docter said in his posts that he would shoot and kill elected officials as part of his plans to “be the catalyst” for a new American revolution.

The Michigan attorney general’s office also found that Docter’s smart phone indicated that he acquired knowledge related to building bombs and where to find the necessary materials to do so.

Although Docter’s charging document indicates that his threatening posts were posted on or about Jan. 25, it is unclear what exactly inspired Docter’s posts.

Docter’s charging document was issued two months after the deadly Capitol insurrection that then-President Trump incited, telling supporters just hours before the Capitol attack to “fight like hell” to overturn Biden’s electoral victory.

The deadly Capitol insurrection in early January put the lives of lawmakers, including Pelosi, in danger. Last month, Pelosi announced plans for a 9/11-style commission to investigate “the facts and causes” related to the Capitol attack.

Whitmer has also faced death threats in the past year, and armed insurrections at Michigan’s state capitol protested her COVID-19 restrictions. The FBI foiled an alleged militia plot to kidnap and possibly kill the Michigan governor in response to the coronavirus restrictions she implemented last year.

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