Ex-Texas law enforcement officer found guilty of sending threatening text to Biden campaign

A former law enforcement officer was convicted on Monday of sending an interstate text threatening members of Joe Biden’s campaign, two days before the then-presidential candidate was to visit San Antonio in late 2019 .

According to testimony at the day-long trial, William Oliver Towery, 55, of New Braunfels, responded to a mass text on December 11, 2019 that mistakenly included him – it was meant to include his father, a Democratic donor – looking for campaign donations. ahead of Biden’s campaign stop in San Antonio two days later.

Towery, an investigator with the Texas Attorney General’s office and later a school district police officer, responded with a text that read, “I’ll be there and I’ve been practicing my sniper skills all month just for this occasion. If you’ll be around him, you might want to wear something dark to hide blood spatter.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez found Towery guilty after hearing testimony that included members of Biden’s campaign staff, the FBI and Towery himself. The judge ordered Towery, who was free on bail, to be taken into custody and sentenced July 13. He faces up to five years in prison.

FBI Special Agent Chris Snow said the text messages were deleted from Towery’s phone by the time officers attended Towery’s home on Dec. 13, 2019 — around the time Biden was in town.

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Officers and New Braunfels police focused on monitoring Towery until Biden security details felt he was safe en route to the airport, Snow said. The pandemic delayed Towery’s indictment until summer 2020, Snow said.

Towery testified that he didn’t mean the text was a threat and that he thought a friend was playing a joke on him. He acknowledged a dislike of Democrats, but said he and his father, who have the same first and last name but a different initial, don’t talk politics.

Towery’s attorney, Doug Daniel, argued that his client was watering his lawn at home, away from the Biden campaign, when officers visited Towery. Daniel also told the judge that Towery was being cooperative, answered their questions, and let officers and police look at his home.

While officers found a pair of single-shot rifles and pistols in the home, Daniel pointed out that no scopes or sniper-type weapons were found.

During the meeting at his home, Towery was asked about the text and he testified that he assumed a friend of his had given the Democrats his number. We asked him what he didn’t like.

“The fact that they’re pushing impeachment on the basis of nothing,” he replied, according to an officer’s body camera video played in court.

At the time, then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, was charged in impeachment proceedings with breaking the law by refusing the Ukrainian leader’s help in pressuring him to that he digs up damaging information about Biden.

Democrats have argued that it is illegal to seek help from foreign entities to win a US election, and although Trump was impeached, a Republican-controlled Senate majority cleared him in a trial that could have led to his dismissal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg portrayed Towery as a man who makes threats. The prosecutor pointed to Towery’s admission that he referred to certain telemarketers as “mean” names. Roomberg also said that Towery saved certain telemarketer numbers in his cell phone under names that included “He who must be killed” and a pejorative term for gay people.

Towery said he worked for the Texas Attorney General’s office as a legal assistant, then an investigator from 1991 to 1995, and then was a uniformed police officer with the Judson Independent School District, which he left in 1997.

Leukemia caused him to lose parts of his legs and he now has prosthetics. He has been unemployed since December 2013 after a pneumococcal disease sidelined him from teaching in Victoria, he testified.

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