Texan pleads guilty to threatening Maryland vaccine advocate

A Texas man has pleaded guilty to threatening a Maryland doctor who has been a prominent advocate for COVID-19 vaccines, a federal prosecutor said.

Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, Texas, pleaded guilty Monday to threats transmitted by interstate communication, U.S. Attorney for Maryland Erek L. Barron announced in a news release.

According to his plea agreement and statements made in connection with the plea hearing, Harris sent a threatening message from his cellphone to the doctor. Court documents identify the doctor only as “Dr. L. W., who had been a vocal proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Harris’ message included violent statements that included: “Never going to take your wonder drug. My 12 gauge promises I won’t. .… I can’t wait for the shooting to start.” Harris’ message also made reference to the doctor’s Asian American background and national origin.

Harris faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison at sentencing on April 21.

“Mr. Harris is embarrassed by his conduct and sincerely apologizes for the harm he has caused,” Harris’ attorney, federal public defender Elizabeth Oyer, told The Baltimore Sun after the hearing.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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