A western Michigan man was arraigned Tuesday after authorities said he made death threats to President Joe Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Joshua Docter, 21, of Holland, was charged with threat of terrorism and using a computer to commit a crime, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office. Each charge carries up to 20 years in prison.
The charges were filed Monday in Ottawa County District Court. Docter turned himself in on Tuesday and was released on a personal bond.
Multiple threatening comments allegedly were made in January on iFunny, a social media platform, Nessel’s office said. The posts stated that a gun would be used to shoot and kill the elected officials and would “be the catalyst” for a new American revolution. Investigators also found information on a cellphone on how to make a bomb and where to find the necessary materials.
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The FBI initiated the investigation and followed up on tips received about the posts. Michigan State Police continued the probe and referred the case to Nessel’s office.
“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.
Docter is scheduled for a probable cause conference on April 8 and preliminary examination on April 15.
The Associated Press could not find a phone number Tuesday for Docter, and court documents did not list the name of an attorney representing him.
His parents released a statement through a public relations firm Tuesday afternoon.
“As a family, we were shocked to learn of the charges against our son,” Bret and Erin Docter wrote. “We are in process of evaluating them and working with legal counsel to consider our next steps.”
The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, by anti-government extremists upset over coronavirus restrictions she had imposed in Michigan. Six people were charged in federal court while eight others were charged in state court with aiding them.