Man who threatened Michigan officials during phone call pleads no contest

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:28 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A Detroit man accused of threatening Michigan officials during a phone call pleaded no contest Wednesday.

On June 23, 2021, James Toepler, 60, called the Detroit Police Department 911 call center and threatened to kill multiple elected officials. During the call, he threatened to kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and others who were not specified in the call.

Toepler pleaded no contest to one count of Malicious Use of Telecommunications Services and is expected to be sentenced to a specialized mental health treatment court.

“This is not protected speech, but an attempt to terrorize and intimidate,” said Nessel. “Elected officials should not face death threats for merely doing their jobs. The Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism Unit of my office will continue to prosecute threats against public officials whenever they occur.”

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