A Michigan man has been charged with threatening to kill President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Tuesday.
Joshua Docter, 21, of Holland, was charged Monday in Ottawa County with one count of threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Docter, who surrendered to authorities Tuesday, was charged following an investigation by the FBI into comments authorities say he made in January on a social media platform called iFunny, Nessel said.
In the posts, Docter stated his intentions to fatally shoot the trio of elected officials and that their deaths would “be the catalyst” for a new American revolution, Nessel said.
Docter also allegedly had information on how to make a bomb, as well as locations on his cellphone where he could find the needed materials.
“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 announcing the charges.
Docter, who was arraigned Tuesday, was ordered to appear for a probable cause conference on April 8 and a preliminary exam one week later, Nessel said.
Federal and state officials charged 14 men in October in a plot to kidnap Whitmer — a Democrat elected as Michigan’s governor in 2018 — over their opposition to her statewide coronavirus lockdown order. Six people were charged in federal court and eight others who authorities say aided them were charged in state court.
One of the six men charged federally, Ty Garbin, 25, pleaded guilty in January and said he will “fully cooperate” with investigators as part of plea agreement in the kidnapping conspiracy by the group, known as the Wolverine Watchmen.
Earlier this month, a war veteran told a Michigan court how he became an FBI informant in the federal probe. The man, identified only as Dan, said he learned about the Wolverine Watchmen on social media and got access to its private online group after answering just a few questions.
But the firearms instructor said he got “alarmed” by discussions about harming police officers and reached out to a law enforcement friend. The informant also said he took part in armed protests at the state Capitol last year and rural training exercises with the group.
One of the men charged in state court, Paul Bellar, wanted to “bum-rush” the state’s Capitol, Dan said.
A judge in Jackson County will hear arguments on March 29 and render a decision on whether there’s enough evidence to send Bellar and two other men, Joe Morrison and Pete Musico, to trial. Their attorneys insist they neither took part directly in the kidnapping plot nor committed violence at the Capitol.
With Post wires