By Tyler Clifford
(Reuters) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Thursday she was one of the potential targets of a man who was charged by federal prosecutors with threatening to kill state employees who are Jewish.
Jack Eugene Carpenter III, a 41-year-old Michigan man who was in Texas at the time, is accused of making the threats on Twitter, intending to cause injury and death to Jewish officials “if they don’t leave, or confess,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
“The FBI has confirmed I was a target of the heavily armed defendant in this matter,” Nessel, who is in her second term, said in a tweet.
Federal authorities in Texas took Carpenter into custody on Feb. 21 and later transported him to Detroit, where he made an initial court appearance on Wednesday. He is charged with transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure with a Feb. 17 social media post, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
If convicted, Carpenter could get up to five years in prison. Prosecutors will determine whether to seek an indictment upon completion of an FBI investigation.
The charges come months after several men were sentenced in state and federal courts for a plot to kidnap the Michigan governor in 2020. The complaint did not discuss a motive for Carpenter’s alleged threats.
The defendant, a resident of Tipton, about 65 miles southwest of Detroit, is scheduled to appear in court on Friday afternoon for a pretrial detention hearing.
Carpenter said in another tweet that any attempt to subdue him “will be met with deadly force in self-defense,” according to the complaint.
Carpenter has three 9 mm handguns registered in his name, the complaint said. He was previously arrested in December for assault by Michigan State Police, which is also investigating him for theft of a fourth handgun.
A public defender for Carpenter could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York City; Editing by Frank McGurty and Daniel Wallis)