LANSING—A man who admitted to calling in a bomb threat at the Michigan Capitol was sentenced Wednesday to one year in jail, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Michael Varrone, 49, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty last month to false report or threat of bomb/harmful device. Prosecutors dismissed two terrorism charges against him.
Judge James Jamo sentenced Varrone to one year in the Ingham County Jail with no possibility of early release and three years’ probation, Nessel said. Varrone must also undergo mental health treatment.
“Threatening the lives and safety of our elected officials and innocent bystanders is deplorable,” Nessel said in a press release. “We treat every instance as a serious threat and will prosecute those who perpetrate such crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
Varrone was accused of calling the Michigan House six times on Dec. 12 and on at least one occasion threatening Rep. Cynthia Johnson and her family. Days earlier, Johnson—a Detroit Democrat who is Black—had taken to social media to warn “Trumpers” after saying she received at least one racist threat that she should be lynched after a Republican-led committee heard baseless allegations of widespread election fraud from then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
On Jan. 7, Varrone telephoned a control operator at the Capitol complex and said everyone needed to evacuate because the Capitol was going to explode. The employee immediately reported the call to police. Authorities performed a sweep of the premises and determined there was no real threat.