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Man's charge of threatening Wisconsin governor dropped under deal

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of March 30, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of March 30, 2023 01:08

A Wisconsin man charged in federal court with making a threat against Gov. Tony Evers and others has pleaded guilty to making a threat against a county official under a deal with prosecutors.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday that Michael A. Yaker, of Windsor, Wisconsin, agreed to the plea deal on Wednesday.

Yaker, 52, pleaded guilty to leaving a threatening voicemail message in May for then-Dane County Highway Commissioner Gerald Mandli.

In November, Yaker was charged in a complaint in U.S. District Court with threatening Evers by email and Facebook messages in October while Yaker was in Kansas.

In March, federal prosecutors charged Yaker with making additional threats against Mandli, Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, Madison police detective Greg Esser, County Executive Joe Parisi and the Dane County Board.

As part of a plea agreement, seven of the eight counts were dismissed, including charges related to threats against the governor, but Yaker agreed he committed the acts described in those counts.

Court documents say that Yaker, an ax-maker and timber framer, began a long-running dispute with Dane County after he was denied a bid to build a park shelter, and that he was known to often carry an ax with him.

As part of a plea agreement, U.S. Attorney Tim O'Shea and Yaker's attorney, federal defender Joseph Bugni, agreed to recommend a sentence for Yaker of a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. However, the U.S. District Judge James Peterson could sentence Yaker to up to five years in prison, the maximum under the law, at a hearing set for June 22.

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