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Man accused of threatening Walker, others, awaits trial

By   /   March 1, 2012  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — A Portland, Maine, man accused of threatening Gov. Scott Walker, as well as the governor of Maine and several members of Congress, remains behind bars nearly a year after his arrest on multiple felony charges.

Michael Thomas was indicted in October on charges of threatening members of Congress, mailing threatening communications, illegally possessing a firearm, interstate stalking and creating a terrorist hoax. He remains in custody in Portland, Maine.

According to a Wisconsin Department of Justice incident report obtained by Wisconsin Reporter, a half-page document mailed to Walker on March 15, 2011 — similar to one mailed to U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans — stated that Republicans have no respect for the rule of law.

The letter said the governor of Wisconsin should be killed and that Walker and several other governors must resign immediately “or we cannot guarantee your continued safety.” The letter concludes, “You have been warned.”

“FBI Boston office has opened a case on these letters. Local WI FBI office has been notified,” the DOJ incident report says.

Thomas was arrested March 25, and agents found an ammunition clip in his desk drawer, according to testimony from FBI Special Agent Pamela Flick. He reportedly told authorities that, had they shown up later, he would have fired on them.

Thomas is accused of sending Maine Gov. Paul LePage three letters, stating, among other threats, that the author was willing to sacrifice his life to shoot the governor, according to the March 31, 2011, edition of the Portland Press Herald. The suspect told agents that he would follow through on his threats if he had the means.

“This is escalating behavior. This is a very dangerous individual,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann told the newspaper last year. “The defendant has done nothing but instill fear in the victim and the community.”

It is for that posed threat, according to court documents, that Thomas has remained in federal custody for nearly a year without bail.

“There is serious risk the defendant would endanger another or the community,” according to records at the U.S. District Court in Portland.

Thomas could go to trial after April 2 jury selection day for federal cases. Motions to continue or pleadings must happen before then.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie declined to comment on the case.

Police said they identified Thomas through DNA from a letter sent to LePage.

He also was charged with making threats against U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and with mailing a letter with powder to Massachusetts.

Thomas faces sentences of up to 10 years in prison on charges of threatening members of Congress, and five years on charges of threatening the governors.