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A Texas woman is charged with threatening the judge overseeing Trump's Jan. 6 trial

The E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington on Aug. 5. Judge Tanya Chutkan received death threats on her chamber's phone line, a court affidavit says.
Mandel Ngan
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AFP via Getty Images
The E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington on Aug. 5. Judge Tanya Chutkan received death threats on her chamber's phone line, a court affidavit says.

A Houston area woman was detained on Wednesday and charged with threatening the federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's election interference case.

Abigail Jo Shry, 43, of Alvin, Texas, allegedly called the chambers for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkanand left a voicemail message on Aug. 5, promising to "kill anyone who went after former President Trump," according to an affidavit.

"You are in our sights, we want to kill you," Shry allegedly said. "Trump doesn't get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, b****."

"You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it," the voicemail continued.

The affidavit said Shry used both the N-word and "slave" to address Chutkan, who was born in Jamaica.

This undated photo provided by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, shows U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. Chutkan is initially assigned to the election fraud case against former President Donald Trump. (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts via AP)
/ AP
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AP
This undated photo provided by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts shows U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. Chutkan is initially assigned to the election fraud case against former President Donald Trump.

She also "made a direct threat to kill" to kill Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, as well all Washington Democrats, broadly, and all members of the LGBTQ community, according to the Department of Homeland Security special agent who signed the court filing.

That agent said Shry admitted to making the call when questioned, but said she had no plans to travel to Washington, D.C., or to Lee's office in Houston to carry out the threats.

Shry faces one count of "communication containing a threat to injure the person of another" and was detained on Wednesday at the order of a U.S. magistrate judge.

A lawyer representing Shry did not immediately respond to request for comment. Neither did Chutkan's chambers or a spokesperson for Jackson Lee.

Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, was assigned randomly to Trump's case aftera grand jury voted to charge him with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and has attacked Chutkan on his social media platform Truth Social, demanding her recusal. After Chutkan warned him against making comments that could intimidate witnesses, he posted "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!"

Trump's comments about Chutkan are consistent with his remarks toward the judges and prosecutors working on the three additional criminal trials in which he's a defendant. Trump faces a combined 91 charges.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.