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Billings man pleads guilty to threatening Tester on voicemail message

Gavel
Posted at 3:55 PM, Jan 05, 2024

A Billings man pleaded guilty Friday to threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in voicemail messages, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich's office.

In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to drop a charge against Anthony James Cross, 30, alleging he also threatened in a message to kill President Joe Biden.

Cross pleaded guilty in federal court to threats to injure and murder a U.S. senator. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors alleged in court documents that two voicemails were left at Tester's Billings and Washington, D.C., offices on April 17, 2023, stating that Tester and his family would die a "horrible death." In the second voicemail, the caller stated he would kill Tester's family members.

Law enforcement determined the phone number on the voicemails belonged to Cross, according to prosecutors.

A week later, the Internet search company Google contacted the FBI to reported multiple comments flagged as threatening on YouTube, which it owns. The comments were attributed to Cross's YouTube account, according to prosecutors.

Among the flagged comments included threats to members of the trans community and a threat to "personally kill Joe Biden."

During an interview with law enforcement, Cross admitted to making the comments posted on YouTube and to using his cellular phone to make the comments, according to prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for May 1. Cross was detained pending further proceedings.

Related: Billings man charged with making threats against Tester, Biden