Niviane Petit Phelps is the Florida nurse accused of threatening to kill Vice President Kamala Harris. According to a criminal complaint filed by the Secret Service, Phelps filmed herself complaining about the current administration and threatening Harris’ life.
Phelps, 39, sent the videos to her husband, who is currently incarcerated at Wakulla Correctional institution in Crawfordville, Florida. The Florida Office of Inspector General alerted Secret Service agents in Miami to the videos. According to the complaint, Phelps later told investigators she had been aware that prison officials might watch any videos she sent to her husband using the prison’s inmate messaging system.
Federal inmate records show Phelps is in custody at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. A judge ordered she be held without bond “based on danger to the community,” according to a federal court document.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Phelps Suggested Someone Had Paid Her Thousands of Dollars to Kill Harris
Phelps sent five videos and two photos to her husband between February 13 and 18, according to the criminal complaint, that concerned investigators. She sent them using JPay, the prison computer application that allows inmates and their families to share media files with each other.
In the videos, Phelps angrily talked about her “hatred” for President Biden and Vice President Harris. But she really narrowed in on Harris, according to the complaint.
In a video dated February 13, Phelps suggested she’d been offered money to kill the vice president. “Kamala Harris you are going to die. Your days are numbered already. Someone paid me $53,000 just to f*** you up and I’m gonna take the, I’m gonna do the job, okay.”
Separate videos sent the next day included more threats: “If I see you in the street I’m gonna kill your ass Kamala Harris.” Phelps also said she was going to the gun range until Harris “leaves the chair.”
Four days later, investigators said Phelps included a potential timeline. In another video, Phelps claimed Harris would die in 50 days.
The Secret Service also highlighted two photos in the criminal complaint. One showed Phelps holding a pistol “next to a target containing bullet holes.” The second showed Phelps’ underage son holding a pistol and a target.
2. Phelps Told the Secret Service She Was Angry Harris Had Been Elected & Didn’t Believe Harris Was Really Black
The Secret Service went to Phelps’ home on March 3, according to the criminal complaint. Officials asked her if she had any weapons in the house. She responded, “No, but I’m going to get a gun.” She refused to answer any other questions after she was read her Miranda rights.
But she changed her mind two days later and called the Secret Service back. According to the complaint, the Secret Service interviewed Phelps on March 6. Phelps told investigators she knew the prison warden had access to the videos she sent to her husband but that at the time, she didn’t care.
Phelps explained that she had been angry over Harris becoming the vice president. She said she doesn’t believe Harris is “actually Black.” She also claimed Harris had put her hand on her clutch purse instead of the Bible during the inauguration ceremony and said that was disrespectful.
Phelps claimed she had since moved past her anger. But when the Secret Service asked Phelps what would have happened if they had not come to her house, she answered, “I don’t know, I don’t know.”
3. Phelps Had Believed President Trump Could Have Freed Her Husband From Prison, Her Mother Explained
Phelps’ mother, Heroeia Petit, has called for federal officials to drop the case against her daughter. Petit told NBC Miami her daughter is “sick” and “doesn’t even know what she’s doing.” She added that Phelps had been influenced by other people and was “desperate.”
In an interview with WPLG-TV, Petit claimed that Phelps had thought President Trump might have freed her husband from prison if he had been re-elected. “I don’t know where this thing coming from,” Petit said.
Petit added that the family traditionally votes for Democrats and that she herself had voted for Biden. Petit also asked for Biden and Harris to forgive Phelps. “My daughter didn’t mean it.”
4. Phelps’ Defense Attorney Claims She Never Posed a Real Threat & That ‘People Say Stupid Things’
Phelps was arrested and ordered held without bond. But her defense attorney, Scott Saul, argues this is not necessary.
Saul told WSVN-TV that the threats made in the videos were not credible and that Phelps would never have acted on them. “People say stupid things all the time,” Saul told the outlet. He also described the videos as private exchanges between Phelps and her husband.
Saul also claimed Phelps never made any plans to visit Washington, D.C. But according to the criminal complaint, Phelps’ daughter suggested that they had, in fact, planned a trip.
Phelps’ daughter asked, “Didn’t we say we were going,” after her mother told the agents she had no plans to go to Washington, D.C.
5. Phelps Was a Licensed Practical Nurse & Worked for the Jackson Health System for 20 Years
Phelps has been a licensed practical nurse since at least 2008, according to Florida Department of Health records.
The hospital said in a statement to the TV station that Phelps was placed on suspension without pay “while we process her employment termination.” The criminal complaint indicates Phelps was placed on administrative leave in early March.