NATIONAL NEWS

Michigan man pleads guilty to making violent threats against Jews

Nov 13, 2023, 10:21 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A 19-year-old Michigan man pleaded guilty Monday to using social media to make violent threats against Jewish people last summer.

Seann Pietila, who has been in custody since June, was accused of using Instagram to spread neo-Nazi ideology, discuss plans to kill people and compliment mass shooters.

In his plea agreement with prosecutors, Pietila admitted that he told someone he had a plan to kill or injure Jewish people and wanting to post the attack online. The FBI said Pietila had written the name of the Shaarey Zedek congregation in East Lansing, near Michigan State University, in a note on his phone along with a 2024 date.

Investigators said Pietila told another Instagram user that he would “inspire others to take arms against the Jewish controlled state.”

During a search of Pietila’s home in Pickford in the Upper Peninsula, investigators found a cache of weapons, knives, tactical equipment and a red-and-white Nazi flag, the FBI said.

“Thank God that we were in a situation where we prevented a possible atrocity rather than being in a situation to respond to one,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said outside federal court in Grand Rapids.

A message seeking comment from Pietila’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned. Pietila will return to court for his sentence on March 4.

The FBI said Pietila made apparent references to the New Zealand shooter who is serving life in prison for killing 51 people and injuring 40 others in the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

“This is a tense moment because of the situation that is happening overseas,” Totten said of the Israel-Hamas war. “We will show zero tolerance for hate-fueled acts of violence and threats of violence against anybody based on their race, their ethnicity, their religion.”

National News

Fitness guru Richard Simmons died Saturday at age 76. (AP)...

MARK KENNEDY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TV’s silly fitness guru Richard Simmons dies at 76

Richard Simmons, TV's court jester of physical fitness who built an empire by urging the overweight to exercise and eat better, has died.

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

Richard Simmons, a fitness guru who mixed laughs and sweat, dies at 76

NEW YORK (AP) — Richard Simmons, television’s hyperactive court jester of physical fitness who built a mini-empire in his trademark tank tops and short shorts by urging the overweight to exercise and eat better, died Saturday. He was 76. Los Angeles police and fire departments say they responded to a Los Angeles house where a […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., greets supporters at an election night party Nov. 8, 2022, at Loo...

Associated Press

Minnesota Republican Tayler Rahm drops out to clear path for Joe Teirab in competitive US House race

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Republicans got a straighter path to potential victory Saturday in what is expected to be Minnesota’s closest congressional race when GOP-endorsed candidate Tayler Rahm dropped out of a primary fight against the better-funded Joe Teirab, who already had tacit backing from key House leaders. Rahm, a political newcomer and defense attorney, said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

New York’s first female fire commissioner says she’ll resign once a replacement is found

NEW YORK (AP) — The first female commissioner of the Fire Department of New York said Saturday that she plans to step down because it’s time to “pass the torch” after two years in the job. Laura Kavanagh didn’t say when she plans to resign, but she said in a statement that she plans to […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Then First lady Melania Trump speaks to a small group of supporters as President Donald Trum...

Associated Press

This year’s RNC speakers include VP hopefuls, GOP lawmakers and UFC’s CEO — but not Melania Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former first lady Melania Trump will attend the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week, making a rare political appearance. But unlike in years past, she is not expected to address the gathering where her husband, former President Donald Trump, will formally accept the Republican nomination. While in the White House, Melania […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Alec Baldwin thanks supporters in first public comments after early end to trial

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Alec Baldwin made his first public comments to thank his supporters Saturday after the stunning early end to his involuntary manslaughter trial. “There are too many people who have supported me to thank just now,” Baldwin said in a brief Instagram post that accompanied a photo of him sitting in […]

3 hours ago

Michigan man pleads guilty to making violent threats against Jews