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Cody Wilson, man behind Defense Distributed, charged with having sex with minor

September 20, 2018

Cody Wilson, the man at the center of the battle over 3D-printable gun blueprints, was charged Wednesday with having sex with a minor who police say he met last month through a dating website.

A judge issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Wilson, who left the country recently. Authorities were working to find him to bring him back to Texas to face the sexual assault charge.

Mr. Wilson gained national prominence after he and his company, Defense Distributed, won the right to publish online blueprints for how to build do-it-yourself 3D-printed guns only to have a federal judge last month order a halt to those plans.

Mr. Wilson is fighting Democratic governors and state attorneys general over the distribution of the plans.

This week his lawyers filed an updated complaint in a federal court in Texas accusing the governors of New York and Pennsylvania, among other state officials, of violating his civil rights by trying to prevent him from reaching residents of their states.

But Mr. Wilson’s own legal troubles were growing in a state court in Austin, where police said they have interviewed the girl who said she was paid $500 after having sex with him last month.

Austin Police Cmdr. Troy Officer told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the girl is 16 years old and that officials are working with national and international authorities to locate Mr. Wilson.

His last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, and he recently missed a scheduled flight back to the United States, the commander said.

He said Mr. Wilson travels frequently for business, but law enforcement officials don’t know why he went to Taiwan.

“But we do know before he left, he was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police and police were investigating him for having sex with a minor,” he said.

According to the police, Mr. Wilson and the girl started exchanging messages after meeting through the dating site SugarDaddyMeet.com. The girl said she exchanged messages with a person using the screen name “Sanjuro,” who later identified himself as Cody Wilson. Officials later matched the image on the “Sanjuro” dating profile to Mr. Wilson’s Texas driver’s license picture.

The two met Aug. 15 at a coffee shop, and later traveled to the Archer Hotel where they had sex, according to the affidavit. Mr. Wilson gave her $500 afterward and later drove her to a Whataburger, it said.

The affidavit says “Sanjuro” described himself to the victim as a “big deal.” The girl said she was unaware of the name “Cody Wilson,” but later found his name through an internet search and confirmed he was the subject of recent news stories.

Mr. Wilson has gained national attention as he battled the Obama administration and then Democratic-led states for the right to distribute plans for 3D-printing of firearms.

U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik last month granted the states’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking him from posting the files.

Mr. Wilson has since started selling the files via flash drives and through the mail, saying the judge’s order bars him only from posting the files online.

Josh Blackman, one of Defense Distributed’s lawyers, said Wednesday that the company hasn’t filed a notice of appeal in that case, but said to “stay tuned.”

Mr. Blackman did say that lawyers still plan to press ahead with a separate civil complaint charging that public officials violated Mr. Wilson’s First Amendment rights to publish the files when they threatened over the summer to take legal action against him if he did so.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro were added as defendants in an amended complaint filed this week in federal court in Texas.

They join New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who were named in a previous complaint.

Mr. Feuer’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the claims against him this week, calling the lawsuit “utterly frivolous” and saying his own statements and actions opposing the company’s plans are protected speech under the First Amendment as well.

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