U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District
Brittan J. Atkinson.
The Michigan man charged with threatening to kill
one of the attorneys for the whistleblower who triggered President Trump’s impeachment trial is accused of turning violent in an interview with the FBI and repeating his threat.
Prosecutors leveled the allegations Monday while urging a judge not to release Brittan J. Atkinson, of Gladwin County, from jail pending a trial, MLive first reported
Assistant U.S. Attorney Janet L. Parker said the FBI was interviewing Atkinson after he was accused of sending an email on Nov. 7 threatening to “hunt down and bleed out” the whistleblower’s attorney. The threat came one day after Trump criticized the attorney and showed his photo at a Louisiana rally.
“When he was originally interviewed regarding that offense by the FBI in November of 2019, Mr. Atkinson initially was calm and coherent," Parker told the judge. "At some point, he became so agitated that he threw a dining room table across the room, causing it to hit the wall on the opposite side of the room.”
Atkinson also called on other law enforcement authorities to arrest the FBI agent.
“At times, Mr. Atkinson was able to be calm and control himself,” Parker said. “At other times, he would become extremely agitated, would be physically shaking and assaultive. Not only that, as he did when he was interviewed by the FBI, he reaffirmed his intention to harm the victim of the assault.”
Atkinson also has a criminal history that includes convictions of domestic violence, assault and battery, attempted assault, resisting, or obstructing police, and malicious destruction of property, the prosecutor said.
Parker added that Atkinson called loved ones to say he was suicidal and “engaging in dark, destructive thoughts,” Parker said.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris agreed to keep Atkinson in jail pending trial.
Atkinson’s defense attorney Stevens J. Jacobs argued for his client’s release.
“He is remorseful,” Jacobs said. “He is depressed. He did make some statements to his spouse, who is present here in courtroom … over the weekend about his past behavior and sending the email. We won’t get into the specifics of that.”
Jacobs added that authorities found no firearms at Atkinson’s home.
“Yes, on occasion he’s a hothead and he can get excited over things and he needs to get a handle on that,” Jacobs said.
Atkinson's full email read:
“All traitors must die miserable deaths. Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate. We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it. Keep looking over your shoulder. We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with. We are all strangers in a crowd to you.”
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.