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Man sentenced for threatening to kill U.S. Senator Tester

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Posted at 6:34 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 20:34:36-04

GREAT FALLS — Anthony James Cross of Billings, who admitted threatening to kill U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana in voicemail messages, was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Cross, 30 years old, pleaded guilty in January 2024 to threats to injure and murder Tester.

Federal prosecutors alleged in court documents that on April 17, 2023, Tester’s office received voicemails containing direct threats to the senator and his family. The voicemails, which contained expletives, included threats that the caller was going to, among other things, “kill every single one of your (obscenity) family members,” and that they would experience a “horrendous death.”

Law enforcement determined that the phone number associated with the calls was attributed to Cross, who lived in Billings and had previous interactions with law enforcement.

A review of Cross’s social media activity indicated disturbing content. The government further alleged that on April 25, 2023, Google contacted the FBI regarding multiple comments made to YouTube videos flagged as threatening. The comments were attributed to Cross’s YouTube account. Some of the comments made in April 2023 included direct threats to kill the President and how “we are actively hunting down and killing any trans in our major cities.”

When interviewed, Cross admitted to making the comments posted on YouTube and to using his mobile phone to make the comments.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided over the case and accepted a plea agreement, and ultimately dismissed a second count that charged Cross with threats against the President, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Cross was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.