A former Hopkins mayoral candidate with a hot temper and a penchant for making foul threats was convicted Friday of threatening to kill a federal judge in St. Paul.
Jurors found Robert Philip Ivers, 65, guilty of threatening to murder U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright and of making the threat across state lines.
Ivers was living in West Fargo, N.D., at the time. He was angry with Wright for ruling against him in a lawsuit he had filed in 2015 against an insurance company that had refused to pay him $100,000 as the beneficiary of two policies taken out by a friend. The company won a countersuit to rescind the policies, alleging that they were obtained using "willfully false or intentionally misleading representations about the [insured's] health and ability to work."
Ivers responded with a series of threats directed at Wright. And in a call to Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim's deputy clerk, he described himself as "a walking bomb" and said he was "crazy angry" at her.
Last November, Ivers filed another lawsuit restating the claims he lost before Wright. He was referred to two volunteer lawyers. They told Ivers that they doubted the validity of his claims, and Ivers went into a rage. One of the lawyers reported to federal marshals that he had made comments like, "This [expletive] judge stole my life from me" and "stacked the deck" to make sure he lost the case.
"You don't know the 50 different ways I planned to kill her," Ivers allegedly told the attorney. Ivers later repeated some of the comments when confronted by deputy U.S. marshals.
In 2014, Ivers also had sent a series of harassing letters to two Hennepin County judges, referring to them as "pig," "trash" and "garbage."
"Everyday my hate grows I pray to my god for the death of your [expletive] family you [expletive] pig," he wrote in one letter.
While running unsuccessfully for mayor of Hopkins in 2016, Ivers sparked outrage during a candidate forum when he referred to people as "ethnics" and "coloreds" and said a proposed light-rail line into town would bring "riffraff and trash from Minneapolis."
Ivers also left a series of threatening messages in 2016 with a Hennepin County district judge who was overseeing some of his litigation. Those messages led to his conviction of "stalking by phone."
"I gotta go to [expletive] jail because you're a dead [expletive] lazy [expletive] judge," Ivers said in one message to the court, according to a trial brief filed by federal prosecutors. "I'm going to make sure you feel some [expletive] pain. … You're going to see who the alpha male is, you dead [expletive]."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Allyn and Timothy C. Rank tried the case.
"This defendant has a long history of using words to frighten and intimidate. Because of the excellent work of the United States Marshal's Service, he is now being held accountable for making threats against a sitting United States District Court judge in retaliation for the performance of her duties," Allyn said.
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493