A criminal complaint was filed against a California man earlier this month for sending threatening messages to Elizabeth Nunes, wife of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who is the ranking member on the powerful House Intelligence Committee and one of the driving forces behind exposing the false narrative that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
A misdemeanor criminal complaint was filed on August 13, 2020, against William Joseph Burden (also known as William Joseph Terrell) after he allegedly sent threats and harassed Elizabeth, identified only as “E.N.” in the complaint obtained by The Daily Wire, which can exclusively report that E.N. does, in fact, stand for Elizabeth Nunes. Burden is accused of “unlawfully, and with intent to annoy,” calling or electronically contacting Elizabeth with “obscene language,” including a “threat to inflict injury” to her or her property and family.
The man was not arrested, due to coronavirus restrictions, but a complaint was filed against him and he was ordered to appear before a court.
The criminal complaint is short, and merely states what is prohibited by the law without disclosing specific details of what Burden did. Nunes’ office, however, told The Daily Wire that Burden sent a series of threatening and lewd communications to Elizabeth aimed at her and her children. At the same time, similar threats were sent to the school where Elizabeth teaches third grade. Nunes’ office said it hopes the FBI can determine whether Burden was responsible for both sets of messages or if he was working with someone else.
Terri Rufert, Superintendent for the Sundale Union Elementary School District where Elizabeth works, confirmed in an exclusive statement that Nunes’ wife was the target of threats, stalking, and harassment.
“We would like to thank the U.S. Capitol Police, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tulare County District Attorney for taking action to protect our students and teachers. We take threats aimed at our school and our kids seriously. We will not tolerate any form of harassment or stalking directed at any of our students or teachers,” Rufert said.
The threats against Elizabeth come after a prolonged political campaign against Congressman Devin Nunes. In 2018, Michael Seeley, a member of the left-wing group Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, filed a California Public Records Act request to obtain Elizabeth Nunes’ work emails. Seeley posted Elizabeth’s emails online in multiple batches. Following the release of the emails, Nunes said his wife and the school district received a wave of harassing phone calls and emails.
In a lawsuit, Nunes claimed the harassment led to the doxing of school administrators and teachers and required the school to increase security measures.
“Seeley published Elizabeth Nunes’ emails online and included the names and email addresses of numerous school administrators and teachers, resulting in extensive harassment of these innocent, hard-working citizens of Tulare County, including hateful accusations that they teach bigotry and racism,” the lawsuit said. “In fact, the school was so concerned about security problems resulting from this situation that it adopted enhanced security measures.”
McClatchy looked into the claim after Nunes also filed a lawsuit against the media outlet for allegedly interfering in a congressional probe and claimed no evidence supported Nunes’ suggestion about the school. The Fresno Bee, a staunchly anti-Nunes media outlet owned by McClatchy, reported that Rufert said the school district “does not have any records responsive to these requests,” referring to requests from McClatchy for correspondence from school staff saying they felt harassed or any documents proving enhanced security measures. Rufert did acknowledge that the district spent $17,455 in legal fees as a result of the public records requests.
Nunes maintains that the threats did occur, and the school was forced to adopt enhanced security measures.
Following Seeley’s publishing of Elizabeth’s emails, the Campaign for Accountability, a liberal non-profit, filed an ethics complaint against Nunes citing one of the emails. The complaint suggested Nunes failed to accurately disclose his investments in Alpha & Omega Winery and Phase 2 Cellars, its sister winery. An email sent to Elizabeth from a law firm working with Alpha & Omega contained documents for her to sign and fill out that related to her and her husband’s investment in the wineries. The ethics complaint alleged that since the documents said a minimum buy-in would cost $200,000, but Nunes only listed his investment as being between $50,000 and $100,000, either he lied on his disclosure form or had some kind of agreement to invest at a lower price.
The Federalist’s Erielle Davidson in 2018 asked Campaign for Accountability multiple times whether they collaborated with Seeley but refused to comment. Nunes’ communications director, Jack Langer, told Davidson that there was no ethics violation regarding Nunes’ investment in the winery, as he, Davidson reported, “simply pooled his money with other investors in a holding company to meet the minimum investment.”
Campaign for Accountability also has ties to Fusion GPS, the organization behind the infamous “Steele Dossier” that led to allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. Nunes spent years working to unravel the false narrative that Fusion GPS helped build. Another complaint filed by Campaign for Accountability against Nunes accused the congressman of leaking the name of Fusion GPS’s bank to the press. Nunes had issued a subpoena to the bank demanding Fusion’s financial records. Fusion fought the subpoena in court and lost, resulting in the revelation that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee had ultimately funded the Steele Dossier. The Clinton campaign and DNC hired law firm Perkins Coie to dig up dirt on Trump during the 2016 election. Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS, which worked with Steele to create the salacious document that included numerous falsehoods and sketchy claims that have not been proven.
Campaign for Accountability also filed a third complaint against Nunes, alleging he leaked text messages between Senate Intelligence committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) and Adam Waldman, a lobbyist for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The text messages revealed that Warner attempted to get Waldman to provide him a back channel to communicate with Steele without the rest of the senate committee finding out.
The Daily Caller reported in August 2019 that Campaign for Accountability paid Fusion nearly $140,000 for research, though the organization’s executive director denied hiring Fusion to attack Nunes.
Fusion’s own founders admitted to running a smear campaign against Nunes during his re-election campaign in 2018 in their book, “Crime in Progress.”
“Fusion didn’t ordinarily work on congressional races, but as the election drew closer the firm began to mull a few ways it could have an impact. Later, it would decide to design and launch a more systematic cyber-monitoring campaign, but first it went small, focusing on a single congressional district in California’s heavily agricultural Central Valley. That solidly red seat happened to have been occupied since 2003 by one Devin Nunes,” the authors wrote.
In a statement to The Daily Wire, Nunes thanked “the investigators in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and in the District Attorney’s office as well as the Capitol Police,” who helped arrest Burden.
“All threats will continue to be turned over to the proper authorities,” Nunes added.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the man who threatened Nunes’ wife had been arrested, but he was not, due to coronavirus concerns. The criminal complaint was filed and he was ordered to appear before a judge.