A Miami-area nurse pleaded guilty to threatening the death Vice president Kamala Harris in videos she sent to her husband earlier this year.
Niviane Petit Phelps, 39, who pleaded guilty Friday to six counts, faces up to five years in prison, prosecutors said. Nov. 19.
In February, Phelps sent her incarcerated husband six 30-second videos in which she threatened to kill Harris and claimed that she had been paid $53,000 and was “the hit man,” officials said. Phelps also sent her husband six 19-second videos in February. She claimed that she had been paid $53, and was “the hit man.” Officials said that she also submitted a photo of herself with a handgun at gun ranges and applied for concealed firearm permits.
Her attorney, Scott Saul, said Tuesday that Phelps was going through a tumultuous time in her life and just venting and that she never had any intent to carry out any threats.
“Ms. Phelps had an honorable life up until this incident,” Saul stated, adding that she was grateful to have been able to take responsibility. “Ms. Phelps pled guilty but plans to demonstrate significant mitigating circumstances. “
Phelps told a Secret Service investigator that she was upset that Harris was vice president, that she felt Harris was not really Black and that she believed Harris had not placed her hand on a Bible at her inauguration, the investigator wrote in an affidavit. Phelps is Black.
Phelps’ mother has told NBC Miami that her daughter was depressed and desperate and “she listened to what people tell her. “
The videos were sent via JPay, which is a program that sends media to prisoners. They were sent to the Secret Service by an inspector.
It’s up to the judge to impose a sentence, but Saul said Phelps may fall under advisory guidelines that range from around 30 months to three years in prison. He stated that he would seek a sentence that does NOT include prison.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.