Indiana man pleads guilty to threatening Michigan election official after 2020 election

DETROIT– An Indiana man accused of making a violent threat against a local election official in Michigan in 2020 pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Andrew Nickels of Carmel appeared in federal court on the day of Michigan’s presidential primary.

On Nov. 10, 2020, a week after the last presidential election, a voicemail was left threatening to kill a clerk in a Detroit suburb and accusing her of fraud, investigators said. Nickels said the clerk deserved a “throat to the knife” for saying there were no irregularities in the election, investigators said.

Then-President Donald Trump, who lost to Joe Biden, made that claim in Michigan and elsewhere. Trump and Biden attended their respective parties’ presidential primaries on Tuesday. Each of them is expected to win the nomination.

The victim of the 2020 threat was not identified in court documents. But Tina Barton, a Republican who was a clerk in Rochester Hills during that election, referred to the case on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“This has not been an easy matter for me & my family has had to endure the last 2.5 plus years,” Barton said last August when Nickels was charged.

She thanked federal investigators for their “perseverance, courage and bravery.”

The voicemail warned Barton that “over ten million patriots will surround you when you least expect it.”

Attorney Steve Scharg told The Detroit News that Nickels was struggling with his mental health.

“I wish we had more treatments available to help people with mental health problems,” he said.

Nickels will appear in court on July 9 for his sentence. The maximum penalty for making threatening interstate communications is five years in prison.