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Billings man sentenced to federal prison for threats to murder U.S. Sen. Jon Tester

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Posted at 12:27 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 08:51:19-04

BILLINGS - A Billings man who admitted to threatening to kill Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester in voicemail messages was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release Anthony James Cross, 30, pleaded guilty in January to threats to injure and murder Tester.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided over the case. Watters accepted a plea agreement and ultimately dismissed a second count that charged Cross with threats against the President, the press release states.

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 cellular phone to make the comments.

RELATED: Billings man pleads guilty to threatening Tester on voicemail message