Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chairperson Monica Palmer, left, with her attorney, Michael Schwartz, seen here in October, was the target of text message and Instagram threats relating to the Nov.  3 presidential election.

Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chairperson Monica Palmer, left, with her attorney, Michael Schwartz, seen here in October, was the target of text message and Instagram threats relating to the Nov. 3 presidential election.

File photo by Maria Allard


Court dates set for woman who allegedly threatened Board of Canvassers chairperson

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 21, 2021

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DETROIT — The case against a 23-year-old woman charged with threatening a local election official is moving forward.

In a complaint filed Dec. 22 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the FBI charged Katelyn Jones with threats of violence through interstate commerce against the U.S.

The U.S. is named as the plaintiff in the case. Jones is accused of threatening Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chairperson Monica Palmer, a Grosse Pointe Woods Republican, regarding the Nov. 3 presidential election.

According to the complaint, Jones has a driver’s license out of Olivet, Michigan, but was staying at her mom’s home in New Hampshire when she was arrested Dec. 22.

During a preliminary hearing held via videoconferencing Feb. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Jones stood mute before Magistrate Kimberly Altman, who entered a not-guilty plea on Jones’ behalf. Altman said that if Jones is convicted, the punishment is up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Jones remains out on bond.

Eastern District of Michigan Assistant Federal Public Defender Nancy McGunn represented Jones in court earlier this month. When contacted via email for comment on the court proceedings, McGunn declined.

“Thank you for reaching out,” McGunn said. “At this time, I have no comment on Ms. Jones’ case.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Princ has been assigned to prosecute the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also declined comment.

“Unfortunately, being that this case is pending, we must decline any further comment at this time,” Public Information Officer Gina Balaya said in an email.

A pretrial conference is set for 1 p.m. March 23, and a jury trial is set for 8:30 a.m. April 5 before U.S. District Judge Laurie J. Michelson. The U.S. District Court is located inside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers is responsible for canvassing the votes cast within the county. The board certifies elections for all local, countywide and district offices that are contained entirely within the county.

As listed on the Wayne County website, www.waynecounty.com, the current members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers are Palmer; Richard W. Preuss, member; William Hartmann, member, Republican; and Allen Wilson, member, Democrat.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers is responsible for canvassing the votes cast within the county. The board certifies elections for all local, countywide and district offices that are contained entirely within the county.

There was a lot of hostility at the board meeting Nov. 17 when Palmer and Hartmann, who are white, did not immediately certify the election for Detroit and were accused of racism by onlookers. In a Nov. 18 press release, Palmer said she was concerned about 70% of precincts not balancing in Wayne County — thus, the delay. Livonia and other communities also had unexplained imbalances, according to Palmer.

The following day, Nov. 18, at approximately 7:46 a.m., Palmer reportedly received several threatening text messages from an unknown person that came from a phone number with a “269” area code. The complaint states that the account was created 10 minutes prior to Palmer receiving the first message.

The message read, “Damn it was not hard finding all of your information disgusting racist b****,” and “I don’t tolerate people like you, in fact I consider you to be a terrorist and do you know what happens to (a) terrorist, Monica?”

The messages included two graphic pictures of a bloody, deceased, nude body of a woman lying on the ground. A third photo of Palmer’s underage daughter was sent asking Palmer to imagine the same happening to her daughter.

“F****** with our elections is TERRORISM, and us Americans clearly don’t tolerate terrorist so yes you should be afraid, your daughter should be afraid and so should (your) husband,” was the message Jones allegedly sent, according to the complaint. “You have made a grave mistake. I hope you realize that now.”

On Nov. 18, Palmer also reportedly received similar threats on her Instagram page. Through an investigation, law enforcement databases established that the TextMe subscriber was Linda Jones in New Hampshire, which court documents state is Katelyn’s mother. According to the complaint, a search warrant on the Instagram account revealed a number of photographs of a woman, which revealed that Katelyn Jones was the user of the account.

According to court documents, Jones admitted to creating a TextMe account that utilized a telephone number with a “269” area code to send threatening messages to Palmer. Jones also admitted in court documents as being the sole user of the Instagram account to post threatening messages. She said she made the threats because she was angry that Palmer “was interfering with the election,” as stated in the court documents.

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