EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Las Cruces man was arrested Monday after he was accused of threatening President Joe Biden, several Texas residents and a Florida resident over text message.
A complaint affidavit filed by federal authorities in U.S. court alleges John Benjamin Thornton made threatening text messages toward individuals living in Texas and claimed he would “execute” the president.
He also claimed he would “execute” individuals for treason and for “standing in my way.”
According to The Associated Press, “Assistant Public Defender Bernadette Sedillo said Thursday that Thornton denies the allegations. Sedillo also said the messages cited in the complaint were taken out of context and represented political expression, not ‘a true threat made by Mr. Thornton.'”
Federal authorities allege Thornton had been the subject of complaints dating back to Nov. 11, 2020, by several persons “who have received messages characterized as disturbing or threatening since that time,” according to the complaint.
Federal agents obtained a search warrant to review Thornton’s records on May 21 and located his phone in Las Cruces.
“Accordingly, the communications described above crossed state lines,” a complaint affidavit stated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.