Greg Abbott claim about terrorist prosecution leads to Austin woman declaring husband's innocence
Austin American-Statesman reporter Dylan Baddour was checking a claim by Greg Abbott when he reached out to the wife of an Austin man, Michael Todd Wolfe, who pleaded guilty in June to terrorism-related charges. Wolfe awaits sentencing.
Baddour’s 90-minute interview of Jordan Furr, who was speaking publicly about the case for the first time, fed into an American-Statesman news story published this week. Furr said her husband was pressured into an overseas travel plan by undercover operatives. Generally, a federal spokesman said, her claim wasn't factually accurate. Read the news story here.
Abbott’s claim -- that he’d been involved in prosecuting a terrorist member of ISIS -- came out False. His office didn’t respond when we requested details per what exactly he or state lawyers did in connection with the case in question and we otherwise found no evidence to back up his declaration aside from a press release crediting a range of agencies including the attorney general and extending to the Killeen Police Department and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission with pitching in on the investigation. The release didn’t say any of the agencies prosecuted Wolfe.
Abbott’s statement also relied on a broad definition of "terrorist" and "ISIS member." The federal complaint suggests that Wolfe may have sought to be those things but does not offer evidence that he had become either a terrorist or ISIS member.