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Texas man facing federal indictment for threatening medical doctor advocating COVID-19 vaccine

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Scott Eli Harris, age 51, of Aubrey, Texas for the federal charges of threats transmitted by interstate communication, related to a threatening message sent to a Maryland medical doctor, who publicly advocated for the COVID-19 vaccine. The indictment was returned on September 29, 2021, and unsealed today upon Harris’ arrest.  Scott has an initial appearance scheduled on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

“We take seriously threats and intimidation, and this charge makes clear that such conduct will be prosecuted federally,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those making such threats.”

The one-count indictment alleges that, on July 12, 2020, Harris sent a threat from his cell phone to the Maryland doctor who had been a vocal advocate of the Covid-19 vaccine. Harris’ alleged threats included violent statements including “Never going to take your wonder drug. My 12 gauge promises I won’t .… I can’t wait for the shooting to start.”

If convicted, Harris faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  Harris is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore at a later date.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham and Trial Attorney Katherine DeVar of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who are prosecuting the federal case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/civil-rights and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.