Texas woman charged with threatening to kill Trump case judge Tonya Chutkan, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
A Texas woman faces charges after she allegedly made death threats toward two high-profile people: The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s prosecution in Washington and longtime Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
According to Bloomberg Law, court records submitted on Aug. 11 in federal district court in Houston allege that Abigail Jo Shry called Judge Tonya Chutkan‘s chambers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Aug. 5 and left a message threatening to kill anyone who pursues the Republican former president.
Chutkan is presiding over Trump’s criminal case, in which he’s charged with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“You are in our sights,” Shry allegedly said in the message, “we want to kill you.”
The voicemail also contained racial obscenities addressed at Chutkan, who is Black.
The criminal complaint against Shry was accompanied by an affidavit from a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, who stated that the voicemail contained a direct threat to kill Jackson Lee, all Democrats in Washington and all members of the LGBTQ community.
According to the affidavit, on Aug. 8, DHS special agents “conducted a knock and talk” at Shry’s home in Alvin, Texas, located about 30 miles south of Houston, after learning she was the owner of the phone number used to make the call to Chutkan’s chambers. The special agent claimed that under cooperative questioning, Shry admitted that she called the judge’s office.
“Shry stated that she had no plans to travel to Washington, D.C. or Houston to carry out anything she stated,” the affidavit noted, “adding that if Sheila Jackson Lee comes to Alvin, then we need to worry.”
Threats against the judiciary are at their highest level in over 10 years, according to Bloomberg Law. Figures show a drop from 4,511 in fiscal 2021 to 3,706 in fiscal 2022, the U.S. Marshals Service reported, an 18 percent decrease in inappropriate threats and messages. However, a 2021 audit of the U.S. Marshals Service Judicial Security Activities found that there were still nearly three times as many threats to the court in 2021 than in 2008.
Then-President Barack Obama appointed Chutkan to the court in 2013. She was chosen randomly to handle the federal government’s case against Trump, Obama’s successor, after he was charged on Aug. 1 with attempting to obstruct the 2020 election.
The former president has also been indicted in three other criminal cases — one in Georgia involving a plot to rig the 2020 election there, one in Florida involving handling classified documents and one in New York involving alleged hush money payments to an adult film star before the 2016 election.
Trump has a history of attacking judges whose decisions he disapproves. On Monday, he reportedly slammed Chutkan in a post on Truth Social, branding her “highly partisan” and “very biased.” Three days before the posting, Chutkan reportedly cautioned Trump and his attorneys against using derogatory language to describe those connected to the case.
“If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you,” Shry said in her Aug. 5 message, according to the affidavit, “so tread lightly,” adding an expletive to seal the warning.
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