Charlotte man to stand trial for bomb threat at Michigan Capitol

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Charlotte man accused of threatening to kill a state representative and issuing a bomb threat at the Michigan Capitol is headed to trial, officials announced Thursday.

Michael Varrone, 49, was bound over by 54A District Judge Kristen Simmons during a preliminary hearing.

In January, he was charged with two counts of false report or threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony, as well as one count of false report or threat of bomb/harmful device, a four-year felony.

One of the false report of terrorism counts is related to a threatening phone call Varrone made to state Rep. Cynthia Johnson, according to prosecutors. 

Michael Varrone

“My office will not tolerate threats to our democracy or to elected officials,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday. “Mr. Varrone being bound over to stand trial on these charges affirms that commitment."

Authorities allege Varrone called the Michigan House of Representatives six times on Dec. 12 and on at least one occasion threatened Johnson.   

The Detroit Democrat was outspoken at a hearing on Dec. 2 involving Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer of then-President Donald Trump, when he provided testimony and witnesses at a December Michigan House Oversight Committee hearing on the Nov. 3 election.

Varrone threatened to "take over the (expletive) building" and left his first and last name, spelling his last name, according to an affidavit.

"If I'm threatened by another senator or anybody like Cynthia Johnson, I'll personally take care of that (expletive) and their whole (expletive) family. There'll be no Johnsons left in Michigan," Varrone said, according to the affidavit. 

On Jan. 7, Varrone allegedly called a control operator at the state Capitol complex and said everyone needed to evacuate because it was going to explode, officials said.

The employee immediately reported the bomb threat to Michigan State Police properties security officers stationed at the Capitol. Authorities searched the premises and determined there was no real threat before reopening the site.

The threat came a day after rioters disrupted a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., to certify Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.

Varrone told police he was upset with the "current political climate" and the insurrection. 

His next court dates have not been set, Nessel's office said.