Michigan Man Admits to Making Threats Against Jewish CommunityNovember 13, 2023
A Michigan man, Seann Pietila, pleaded guilty and admitted to using social media for making violent threats against Jewish people last summer. According to the FBI, he had compiled information about a synagogue in East Lansing and had planned an attack for 2024. Investigators later found a cache of weapons, knives, tactical equipment, and a Nazi flag at his home in Pickford. U.S. Attorney Mark Totten expressed relief that the situation was thwarted before any atrocity occurred. Pietila pleaded guilty to transmitting threatening communications, which could result in a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced in March. Totten also emphasized zero tolerance for hate-fueled acts of violence and threats of violence. Pietila’s guilty plea comes in the context of increased bias incidents, including vandalism, threats, and hate crimes, against Jews, Muslims, and other groups, prompted by overseas conflicts.