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Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Texas Man Indicted for Sending Violent Threats to Prominent Maryland Doctor Who Had Been a Vocal Advocate of the COVID-19 Vaccine
A federal grand jury in Baltimore, Maryland, has indicted a Texas man for sending a threatening communication to a Maryland doctor.
The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, Texas, who is scheduled to have an initial appearance on Wednesday, Oct. 13, in U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas.
The indictment charges Harris with a single count of willfully transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure another person. Specifically, it alleges that Harris sent a message from his cellular phone to the doctor, who had been a vocal proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine, that included violent and explicit threats, such as, “Never going to take your wonder drug. My 12 gauge promises I won’t,” and “… I can’t wait for the shooting to start.” The message also referenced the doctor’s race and national origin.
If convicted, Harris faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.
This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham of the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney Katherine G. DeVar of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Texas man charged with threatening prominent doctor over her Covid vaccine advocacy
The suspect is also alleged to have texted misogynistic and racist statements to Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner.
Oct. 13, 2021, 7:15 AM +08By Dennis Romero
A Texas man was charged in federal court with threatening a prominent health policy professional over her Covid-19 vaccination advocacy, ethnic background and gender, authorities said Tuesday.
The Justice Department said the man, Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, was arrested following Tuesday’s unsealing of a grand jury indictment that contained a single allegation.
It says he “knowingly and willingly transmitted in interstate commerce a threat to injure the person of another” on July 12. In a statement, the Justice Department alleged that Harris texted the threats to the victim, identified in the indictment only as “Dr. L.W., who had been a vocal proponent” of vaccination.
NBC affiliate WBAL of Baltimore identified the victim as Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner and onetime national president of Planned Parenthood. She didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted through the Brookings Institution, where she is a nonresident senior fellow.
The Justice Department said he was due in federal court Wednesday in Plano, Texas. If he is convicted, Harris could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.