Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has appeared in court to back a Michigan minister on house arrest for threatening a judge.
Farrakhan told a rally on behalf of Edward Pinkney that he was "honored to be here at the call of justice" last week before Tuesday's hearing to reverse Pinkney's pending three to 10-year sentence.
In an episode that calls to mind Moses confronting Pharaoh in biblical times, Pinkney warned a judge that God could punish the court official with curses and illness.
The judge had convicted Pinkney in 2007 of paying citizens to vote in a Benton Harbor, Mich. election.
It was later ruled that Pinkney violated his probation for the earlier conviction when he wrote about the danger the judge faced in a newspaper article.
Farrakhan, who owns a farm in Michigan, joined Pinkney's supporters, including the American Civil Liberties Union. They argue that Pinkney's writing fell within the boundaries of free speech. About 400 people attended the rally where Farrakhan appeared.
An appeal of Pinkney's prison sentence is underway while he serves house arrest.
Benton Harbor is a predominantly Black town with a population of about 11,000 in central Michigan.