Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threat to Michigan Election Worker

Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threat to Michigan Election Worker

An Indiana man pleaded guilty today to sending a communication that included a threat of violence to an election worker in Michigan. 

“Andrew Nickels threatened that he and millions of so-called ‘patriots’ would kill an election worker in Michigan. Among other threats, he said the local public official deserved a ‘throat to the knife’ for saying that there were no irregularities in the election,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Election officials and workers play a critical role in safeguarding free and fair elections. The Criminal Division will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who seek to undermine this core tenet of our democracy by threatening election officials with violence.”

According to court documents, on or about Nov. 10, 2020, Andrew Nickels, 37, of Carmel, called the clerk of a local municipality and left a voicemail threatening to kill the local official. As part of the message, Nickels stated, in part, “We’re watching your…mouth talk about how you think that there’s no irregularities…[Y]ou frauded out America of a real election.” Nickels then told the clerk that “you’re gonna pay for it,” and described how “ten million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it.” He continued, in relevant part: “[W]e’ll [expletive] kill you…[Y]ou will [expletive] pay for your [expletive] lying ass remarks…We will [expletive] take you out. [Expletive] your family, [expletive] your life, and you deserve a [expletive] throat to the knife…Watch your [expletive] back…watch your [expletive] back.”

“No public official should face the violent threats that the victim in this case did, just for doing their job of ensuring the fairness and integrity our federal, state, and local elections,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Today’s guilty plea should send a clear message that those who engage in this egregious conduct will be held accountable.”

“Those who work to ensure the integrity of our democratic process should be able to continue without fear of intimidation or violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “The FBI will not tolerate threats against any local, state, or federal elections workers and will continue working with our law enforcement partners to mitigate such threats.”

Nickels pleaded guilty to one count of making a threatening interstate communication. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI Detroit Field Office is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Tanya Senanayake of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frances Lee Carlson for the Eastern District of Michigan are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed, or volunteer – are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI Field Offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Over two years after its formation, the task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.

Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Justice Department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.

To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at www.tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.

Official news published at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/man-pleads-guilty-making-threat-michigan-election-worker

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