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2 men charged with making threats to Michigan congresswomen, state judge

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Two men, one from Michigan, the other from Georgia, have been charged for allegedly making threats against two Michigan Democratic members of Congress and a Court of Claims judge. 

The charges from Attorney General Dana Nessel are the latest of several that have been issued in the wake of violent threats over the past year against the governor, legislators and other elected officials. 

“It is unacceptable and illegal to intimidate or threaten public officials,” Nessel said in a statement Tuesday.

“To those who think they can do so by hiding behind a keyboard or phone, we will find you and we will prosecute you, to the fullest extent of the law. No elected official should have to choose between doing their job and staying safe.” 

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November 2018.

Daniel Thompson, 62, of Harrison is alleged to have left threatening phone messages Jan. 5 for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Lansing Democrat. He is also alleged to have made threatening and vulgar remarks in a more than hour-long call Jan. 19 to an employee in the office of U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and to have made a separate threatening call April 30 of last year to Slotkin's office. 

Clinton Stewart of Douglas, Georgia, is alleged to have left a threatening voicemail Sept. 18 for Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stevens believed to be related to a ruling that day that would have required clerks to accept late ballots. Stephens' decision eventually was overturned by the Court of Claims.

Thompson, a self-described Republican, is alleged to have threatened violence against public officials in his voicemail to Stabenow. He allegedly said he had joined a state militia group, was angry about the November election results and would become violent if the results weren't changed. 

In his hour-long call with Slotkin's office, Thompson said people would die and referenced the events at the Capitol building Jan. 6, according to Nessel's statement. 

Thompson is charged with three counts of malicious use of service provided by a telecommunications service provider, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Slotkin thanked law enforcement for their work on the case, noting it was not the first time her office had received violent threats. 

"Myself and my colleagues in elected office, particularly women, are unfortunately no strangers to violent, threatening calls and comments –– and it has got to stop," Slotkin said in a statement. 

"Not just for our safety and the safety of our staff, but for the health and functioning of our democracy." 

Stewart, 43, allegedly left a threatening voicemail for Stephens the same day as her decision on late ballots, but staff didn't discover the message until Oct. 2. In his message, Stephens said "activist judges" were making rules that favored then president-elect Joe Biden, according to the statement from Nessel's office. 

Stewart was charged with one count of malicious use of service provided by a telecommunications service provider.

Arraignments are pending for both men. 

eleblanc@detrointews.com