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News Link • Criminal Justice System

Cody Wilson pleads guilty to lesser charge, will register as sex offender

• https://arstechnica.com

AUSTIN, Texas—This morning, almost one year after an initial warrant for his arrest went out, Cody Wilson stood stoically in front of Judge Brad Urrutia in the 450th Criminal District Court in Travis County as cameras and a packed gallery watched. The founder and former director of firearms technology company Defense Distributed soon pleaded guilty to lesser charges stemming from an August 2018 incident with a female minor.

Sporting a dark grey suit, Wilson's previously defiant public persona was nowhere to be found. Instead, the entire appearance proceeded matter of factly, and it was an event of few words. Judge Urrutia read the charge changes and went over the situation with Wilson and his attorneys; Wilson's team would respond briefly with "Yes, your honor." Wilson arrived early alongside his attorneys, but within approximately a half hour it was all over. A plea had been entered, and his team left the room as video cameras trailed behind.

Prior to appearing in court, Wilson and his attorneys, F. Andino Reynal and Joseph Turner, bargained with the state of Texas to amend charges against the 3D-printed gun activist. Instead of sexual assault, Wilson stood accused of injury to a child, a lesser felony than what he originally faced. His guilty plea this morning now comes with a recommended seven-year probation period during which Wilson must register as a sex offender.

Wilson's formal sentencing has been scheduled for September 12. If the plea is accepted by Judge Urrutia as anticipated, Wilson will avoid prison in favor of that multi-year probation. According to the plead document (PDF), "injury to a child" is a third-degree felony, punishable by a term between two and ten years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine up to $10,000.

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