Michigan man indicted for hate crime in Jewish threats case

Jack Eugene Carpenter III faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Photo of the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse.

DETROIT (AP) — A man charged with threatening the lives of Jewish Michigan public officials on Twitter was indicted on a hate crime charge Thursday, a prosecutor said.

Jack Eugene Carpenter III, 41, of Tipton, Michigan, made threats against Jewish government officials in Michigan on the social media platform while he was in Texas last month, U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said.

“Hate and bias-related crimes poison our communities and make people afraid simply because of who they are or what they believe,” Ison said. “We will not tolerate such actions, and we will prosecute those who engage in them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Carpenter’s post on Feb. 17 read, in part: “I’m 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,” Ison said in a news release.

Carpenter is being held in detention pending trial, Ison said. He was arrested in Texas on Feb. 21.

A telephone message seeking comment was left Thursday evening for Carpenter’s lawyer, Jean Pierre Nogues.

Carpenter faces up to five years in prison if convicted, Ison said.

Carpenter has submitted a document in court challenging the federal government’s jurisdiction over him.

The FBI hasn’t publicly identified the state officials Carpenter threatened, but Attorney General Dana Nessel said Carpenter wanted to kill her. She described him as a “mentally disturbed man.”

A Michigan lawmaker who is Jewish has said she and two others who are Jewish were informed by the FBI about Carpenter’s arrest.

“You’re getting threats constantly. … It didn’t really affect me probably like it should because I’ve been dealing with extremism and antisemitism since October, November,” said Rep. Samantha Steckloff, a Democrat from suburban Detroit.

She said threats took off last year when Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, made antisemitic comments in interviews and on social media. Ye has expressed some regret.