A mother was recently indicted for allegedly acquiring weapons matching those her son used in threats against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.
Addressing Violent Anti-government Extremism
The August 2 indictment was revealed five months after her son was arrested as part of a broader effort to address violent anti-government extremism in Michigan.
She Provided Arms Despite His Mental State
When her 30-year-old son was charged in March, federal prosecutors claimed Michelle Berka had purchased weapons for him despite his involuntary commitment to mental health treatment in 2012.
She Made False Statements
The unsealed criminal case does not identify her son but alleges that Michelle Berka made false statements in order to purchase weapons from March to August 2022.
The Weapons Match Her Son’s Case
These weapons align with those mentioned in her son’s criminal case. Each instance accuses her of falsely representing herself as the actual buyer of the weapon while being aware that she was obtaining it for someone else.
She Could Face 10 Years in Prison
Berka could face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted. She briefly appeared in federal court and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. Her lawyer, Bryan Sherer, was not immediately available for comment.
Her Son’s Disturbing Posts
In her son’s case, investigators discovered threatening posts on a YouTube account that were inciting violence against certain community groups and political figures. Her son remains in custody as he awaits trial.
Violent Anti-Government Extremism
While a spokesperson for her son declined to comment on the alleged threats, violent anti-government extremism has garnered national attention in recent years.
Her Case Aligned With Other Disturbing Cases
The unsealing of her son’s case in March coincided with the indictment of another individual accused of threatening Jewish politicians, including Attorney General Dana Nessel, on Twitter.
Concerns of Domestic Terrorism
The Berka case follows the FBI’s prevention of a plot to kidnap Governer Whitmer nearly two and a half years ago, illustrating the ongoing concern of domestic terrorism.
Domestic Terrorism Doubled
An FBI intelligence assessment from October noted a nearly doubled count of domestic terrorism investigations compared to the previous year.
Google Officials Reported the Account
The investigation commenced in March when Google officials reported a YouTube account posting death threats.
Analysts used subscriber data to trace the account back to Berka and her residence.
He Was Not Allowed to Possess Firearms
Berka was involuntarily committed to mental health treatment in 2012, which prohibited him from owning firearms or ammunition.
She Said She Was Afraid of Him
In a subsequent interview, Berka acknowledged purchasing weapons for her son and expressed fear of him, believing that his mental health treatment was ineffective.
Governor Blames Trump
In a March interview, Governor Whitmer, discussing the impact of threats on her life, said the former president’s role made her a target and inflamed the situation.
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Source: AP News