A Michigan man who allegedly threatened to kill State Attorney Dan Nessel and other Jewish members of the Michigan government on social media has pleaded not guilty to making threatening interstate communications during an arraignment Wednesday.
Jack Eugene Carpenter III was indicted last week by a federal grand jury that also specifically found a hate crime motive.
The jury accused Carpenter of “intentionally selecting Jewish members of the Michigan government to be the targets of his threats in the first charge because of those individuals’ actual and perceived religious beliefs,” the indictment said.
Interstate threats to injure others are punishable by up to five years in prison.according to the Ministry of Justice Press ReleasesCarpenter, if convicted, will be subject to increased penalties for hate crime motives.
“Hate and prejudice-related crimes have poisoned our communities and made people fearful simply because of who they are or what they believe in,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Eason said at a news conference. “We will not tolerate such conduct and we will prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.”
Carpenter appeared in person before a judge in the Eastern District of Michigan and remains in custody. CNN reached out to Carpenter’s attorney for comment.
CNN previously reported On Feb. 18, the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center told the Detroit FBI office that a person nicknamed “tempered_reason” on Twitter said he was heading to Michigan and “threatened to execute any Jew” Michigan state government . The user said any attempt to “subdue” him would be “resulted with deadly force in self-defence”.
Authorities traced the Twitter handle to Carpenter, who holds a protective order against him and was previously arrested by state police, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The complaint alleges that Carpenter registered three 9mm pistols with the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network. According to the indictment, Carpenter “stealed” one of the guns he owned from his girlfriend.
He was arrested in Texas on Feb. 18, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation previously told CNN.
Nessel was one of the officials Carpenter admitted to investigators that he wanted to target, law enforcement sources said.Although the court filing does not name Nessel or the other officials, the Democratic attorney general said in a statement tweet Earlier this month, she was one of the targets.