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Texas man charged with threatening prominent doctor over her Covid vaccine advocacy

A Texas man was charged in federal court with threatening a prominent health policy professional over her Covid-19 vaccination advocacy, ethnic background and gender, authorities said Tuesday.The Justice Department said the man, Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, was arrested following Tuesday’s unsealing of a grand jury indictment that contained a single allegation.It says he…

A Texas man was charged in federal court with threatening a prominent health policy professional over her Covid-19 vaccination advocacy, ethnic background and gender, authorities said Tuesday.

The Justice Department said the man, Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, was arrested following Tuesday’s unsealing of a grand jury indictment that contained a single allegation.

It says he “knowingly and willingly transmitted in interstate commerce a threat to injure the person of another” on July 12. In a statement, the Justice Department alleged that Harris texted the threats to the victim, identified in the indictment only as “Dr. L.W., who had been a vocal proponent” of vaccination.

Dr. Leana Wen, then the health commissioner of Baltimore, speaks to the media March 19, 2015.Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images file

NBC affiliate WBAL of Baltimore identified the victim as Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner and onetime national president of Planned Parenthood. She didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted through the Brookings Institution, where she is a nonresident senior fellow.

Wen said on MSNBC last year that testing and vaccination were the country’s primary ways out of the coronavirus pandemic. “We now know what it takes to control Covid-19,” she said.

She also recently wrote a book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”

Authorities alleged that the statements in the text to Wen, which included a reference to her gender and her perceived ethnicity, said, “Never going to take your wonder drug.”

Harris is also alleged to have written: “I’m a 5th general U.S. Army veteran and a sniper.. I can’t wait for the shooting to start.. I hope you are ready.. [Expletive].. where’s your [expletive] office?”

The U.S. attorney for Maryland, Erek L. Barron, said in a statement Tuesday, “We take seriously threats and intimidation, and this charge makes clear that such conduct will be prosecuted federa

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