BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan man who pleaded guilty to telling the FBI about a false plot against a former federal prosecutor could get a lighter sentence after a successful appeal.

Michael Bourquin was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison after his guidelines were enhanced by the cost of the government’s investigation. But an appeals court last week found a problem: The government didn’t provide details of substantial costs.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington “committed procedural error” by applying the sentencing enhancement, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

The government won’t be allowed to supplement the record when the case returns to Ludington’s court in Bay City, the appeals court said.

In 2017, Bourquin told the FBI that a motorcycle gang had targeted former Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. The government said it interviewed a prisoner in North Carolina as part of the investigation and provided protection for McQuade.

Defense attorney James Piazza said investigators knew the threat was fake within 24 hours.

“I believed a credible threat,” Bourquin, a retired police officer who lives in Oscoda, told the judge in 2019. “There’s something — look on the internet — psychic dreams. I’ve had them before. The little voice in your head. … But I realize now how insane that was.”

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