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Man faces federal charges for swastika on Michigan synagogue

A man has been charged in federal court with defacing one of Michigan's oldest synagogues with a swastika in 2019.

A swastika was sprayed on the outside of Temple Jacob in Hancock in the Upper Peninsula.

Nathan Weeden, 23, of Houghton was indicted on charges of conspiring against rights and damaging religious property. He was released on bond Thursday following his arrest in Saline in southeastern Michigan. A not-guilty plea was entered.

"No one should be the target of hate because of their race, ethnicity, religion or any other status," U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said.

A message seeking comment was left with Weeden's attorney.

It wasn't clear why there was a nearly four-year gap between the vandalism and the indictment. Totten spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said she couldn't comment on charging decisions.

In 2021, a New Jersey man, Richard Tobin, was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to direct others to deface Temple Jacob as well as a synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin. Tobin admitted he was a member of a white supremacist group.

The construction of Temple Jacob was completed in 1912.

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