Arizona man arrested for threatening federal agents on social media, officials say
Dec 19, 2023, 4:25 AM
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)
PHOENIX — An Arizona man was arrested after threatening federal officials and other public servants on social media over the course of two years, according to a Monday announcement from the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Michael Lee Tomasi, 37, is accused of “expressing his desire to incite violence” against judges, law enforcement officers and elected officials, the DoJ said.
Tomasi, who is from Rio Verde, was arrested on Friday. A grand jury indicted him on three counts of making threats against a federal official, according to the announcement.
His alleged threats transcended state boundaries. He directed his ire toward public officials in both Arizona and Colorado, according to the announcement. However, his current charges are only related to his alleged threats against Arizona officials, the announcement said.
That means Tomasi is also facing three counts of making interstate threats, the DoJ said.
Threatening federal officials is the wrong way to express yourself, FBI leader says
The two-year tirade stretched from May 2021 to Nov. 2023, the DoJ said. He lived in Colorado and Arizona during this time, according to officials. However, the announcement didn’t specify which social media platform he used.
Arizona Attorney General Merrick B. Garland described Tomasi’s threats as “abhorrent” in a written statement.
“(Tomasi) is specifically charged with threatening to kill FBI agents and other FBI employees just for doing their jobs,” Garland said.
FBI Director Christopher Way said there’s a right way and a wrong way to express one’s political views. Threatening to kill your leaders falls under the “wrong” category, he said.
“The men and women of the FBI work tirelessly and selflessly to protect others every day,” Way said. “We will continue to work with our partners to hold accountable those who make violent threats against them or any of our colleagues in law enforcement.”
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona will handle the case. If Tomasi is convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine to match each count of threatening a federal official.
That’s not all. Tomasi could also face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and additional $250,000 fine for each interstate threat he allegedly made.