Westland man pleads no contest to sending threatening emails to governor

Last week in the 18th District Court in Wayne County, Jason Tolonen, 51, of Westland, pled no contest to one count of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime and one count of Malicious Use of a Telecommunications Service, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.  

For years, Tolonen repeatedly sent nonsensical, harassing, racist, and threatening emails to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s constituent portal. In November 2023, Michigan State Police executed a search warrant at Tolonen’s home after a threat to “assassinate the president or your governor.” Tolonen admitted to sending the messages. Although Tolonen refrained for several months, he resumed sending similar emails in February 2024.   

“Elected officials deserve to serve Michiganders free of fear, and violent threats directed at public servants cannot be normalized,” Nessel said. “I commend Michigan State Police for taking these threats seriously, and my department remains committed to prosecuting these disturbing offenses.”

Tolonen was charged with one count of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime and three counts of Malicious Use of a Telecommunications Service in February. Tolonen will be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and refrain from repeated, unwanted contact with any individual, business, or governmental entity. He must also submit to mental health and substance abuse evaluations and any recommendations will be incorporated into his sentence.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 12th at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Sandra Ference Cicirelli in the 18th District Court in Wayne County.

In 2019, Nessel launched the Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism Unit. To report dangerous threats made against public officials, residents should contact their local police department first and then the Department of Attorney General via email at HateCrimes@michigan.gov or at 313-456-0040.

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