ALBUQUERQUE — A defense lawyer for a New Mexico man accused of threatening to kill President Joe Biden says texts the man sent were taken out of context and were “simply political expression."

According to court records, 39-year-old John Benjamin Thornton of Las Cruces was arrested Monday, and a criminal complaint alleged he violated federal law by threatening in communications in interstate commerce to injure another person.

Thornton's phone was in Las Cruces when the texts were sent May 18 to people in Florida and Texas, the complaint said.

Bernadette Sedillo, an assistant public defender representing Thornton, said Thursday he denies allegations made in the complaint by an FBI agent.

“It is very early in the case, but once the facts bear out, they will show a completely different picture," Sedillo told the Associated Press via email.

“The messages attached to the criminal complaint are a few sporadic texts out of many that are out of context," Sedillo added. “This was simply political expression and was never a true threat made by Mr. Thornton."

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(2) comments

Michael Kiley

For eight years during the Obama presidency the federal law enforcement policy was to allow a constant stream of blog threats to kill the President on in violation of federal law. This was a mistake. When someone violates the law, they need to be arrested, and the platform needs to be cleaned up. Its the law, don/t "express yourself" by threatening the President. And if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Because yelling fire in a crowded theater is not free speech. And that is the law, ruled the late Mr. Justice Holmes, Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919). Or follow the Cheney doctrine (Dick Cheney), its our due, we won the election;

Russell Scanlon

MAGA voter. As soon as the Jan 6th rioters get caught they just deny, deny, deny. That’s how you know their “cause” is nothing more than total BS.

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