Published 10:35 am PT September 2, 2020 |
Deputy Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) (Photo: File Photo)
A California man was accused of molesting Congressman Devin Nunes' wife.
A misdemeanor complaint alleges that William Joseph Burden unlawfully contacted Elizabeth Nunes with "obscene language" and "threats of injury". Elizabeth is Devin Nunes' wife and teacher at Sundale Elementary. Similar threats have allegedly been targeted on the Tulare campus, increasing the safety of employees.
However, the prosecution did not bring charges of threats or implied threats. In the Times Delta complaint, prosecutors described the allegations as "annoying phone calls". A crime count has been filed.
"The prosecution takes such cases very seriously," said DA spokesman Stuart Anderson.
The brief complaint did not contain any specific incidents of harassment, but Nunes 'office told The Daily Wire that Burden had sent a "series of threatening and indecent messages" to Nunes' wife and children. He said the FBI is investigating these threats and the threats against the school to see if they are linked.
Sundale Superintendent Terri Rufert confirmed that Elizabeth Nunes had been threatened as of the January date mentioned in the court record.
"We will not tolerate any form of harassment or stalking directed against our students or teachers," said Rufert.
Burden was not arrested due to COVID-19 restrictions. His indictment is scheduled for October 22nd. If convicted, the Los Angeles man faces a maximum sentence of 180 days in prison, according to the Tulare District Attorney's Office.
Burden's attorney Maggie Melo said the court case was just in time to bolster Nunes ahead of the November election. She said her client "made absolutely no threats" to Nunes or his wife. She called the indictment a political ploy aimed at suppressing freedom of speech after the Congressman's unsuccessful civil lawsuits against journalists and critics on Twitter.
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"There is no doubt that Mr Nunes is trying to suppress freedom of speech by suing people in a civil court, but he has dismissed most of his cases as unfounded," she said. "Now he's pressuring his friends in Tulare County to bring these baseless charges against my client."
According to Melo, prosecutors have not given her a copy of the criminal complaint after several requests in the past two weeks.
"I had to learn from news articles about the specific allegations made against my client," she said, adding that a Facebook comment criticizing an elected official is a constitutional speech and not a harassment. "If Mr Nunes is to claim that his wife is not a public figure, he should not include her and his children in his political leaflets and propaganda."
In a statement, Nunes thanked the Tulare County Sheriff's Department, the prosecution and the Capitol Police for their investigation. He said all threats will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for review.
Devin Nunes over the years (Photo: File Photo)
Joshua Yeager reports on water, agriculture, parks, and housing for Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register. Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Receive alerts and keep up to date on all things Tulare County for just $ 1 a month. Subscribe today.
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