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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A defense lawyer for a New Mexico man accused of threatening to kill President Joe Biden says texts the man sent were taken out of context and were “simply a political expression.”

According to court records, 39-year-old John Benjamin Thornton of Las Cruces was arrested Monday and a criminal complaint alleged he violated federal law by threatening in communications in interstate commerce to injure another person. Thornton’s phone was in Las Cruces when the texts were sent May 18 to people in Florida and Texas, the complaint said.

Bernadette Sedillo, an assistant public defender representing Thornton, said Thursday that he denies allegations made in the complaint by an FBI agent. “It is very early in the case, but once the facts bear out, they will show a completely different picture,” Sedillo told The Associated Press via email. “The messages attached to the criminal complaint are a few sporadic texts out of many that are out of context,” Sedillo added. “This was simply a political expression and was never a true threat made by Mr. Thornton.”

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