Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is lesbian and Jewish, was one of the state officials threatened by a man who vowed to kill all the Jews in Michigan government if they don’t leave office.
“The FBI has confirmed I was a target of the heavily armed defendant in this matter,” Nessel tweeted Thursday. “It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my Hate Crimes & Domestic Terrorism Unit takes plots to murder elected officials.”
A federal court in Detroit unsealed a criminal complaint Wednesday against Jack Eugene Carpenter III of Tipton, Mich. He is charged with transmitting an interstate threat, the Detroit Free Press reports. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of five years. He is being held without bail in Detroit.
Carpenter had tweeted February 17 from Texas that he was “heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is jewish in the Michigan govt if they don’t leave, or confess.”
Besides Nessel, Jewish government officials in Michigan include U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and several state legislators, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Carpenter had previously been charged with assault and has been accused of stealing a gun from his girlfriend. “His mother told authorities he was in possession of several firearms, including three handguns, a 12-gauge shotgun and a military-style hunting rifle,” JTA reports.
His Twitter feed is peppered with anti-Semitic remarks and right-wing conspiracy theories. He was a computer systems administrator at the University of Michigan for 10 years and was terminated in 2021. The university would not disclose why he was fired, citing privacy of personnel matters, but Carpenter himself tweeted that he “was fired for refusing to take experimental medication,” which seems to be a reference to the COVID-19 vaccine, JTA notes. He apparently believed Jews had developed the vaccine to help them achieve world domination.
He called himself “King of Israel” and said he was forming a new state, “New Israel.” “Any Jewish person holding a public office on my land … is subject to immediate punishment for their participation in an unlawful war of aggression using a biological weapon against me,” he tweeted.
He also tweeted threats against law enforcement officials, several University of Michigan employees, and various well-known people, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Twitter head Elon Musk, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, and former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. And he said he did not believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.
The Advocate has sought comment from Nessel but has not received a response. In 2018, when first elected attorney general, she became the first out member of the LGBTQ+ community to hold statewide office in Michigan, and she was reelected last year. She was formerly a county prosecutor and an attorney in private practice. In the latter role, she handled one of the marriage equality cases that was consolidated with others for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in the 2015 ruling that took marriage equality nationwide.