Cody Wilson leaves 3D-printed gun company after sexual assault charges

By Daniel Uria

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Defense Distributed announced Tuesday that its founder Cody Wilson had stepped down as its chief executive after facing sexual assault charges.

Paloma Heindorff, the company's vice president of operations, announced she would replace Wilson as director of the company founded to distribute 3D-printed firearms, but deferred inquiries about Wilson's sexual assault case to his private attorneys.


"I am extremely proud to say that over the past few days the entire team at Defense Distributed has recommitted to enabling the sharing and publication of CAD and 3D-printed firearms," Heindorff said at a press conference. "This resilience, I truly believe to have not only been characteristic of our company as a whole, but also the ideas that we have worked so hard to promote."

Wilson was returned to the United States from Taiwan on Monday, where he was booked into a Harris County, Texas, jail and released on a $150,000 bond.

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The U.S. Marshals service said he was charged in Austin for meeting a 16-year-old girl, taking her to a hotel for sex and then paying her $500.

Wilson stepped down from the company on Friday, as he left the United States for Taiwan, but Heindorff said the company remained productive in his absence.


"I cannot be more proud of my team right now," she said. "We didn't miss a beat. No one blinked. No one has missed a day at work. We've all come in. We're still shipping. We have no intention of stopping."

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She added Defense Distributed received 3,000 orders for gun blueprints and had fulfilled 1,500 orders so far.

Heindorff said the company would continue to pursue its mission to make 3D-printed gun plans publicly available online, despite Wilson's departure.

"He's been an incredibly powerful figurehead, but this is about an idea," she said.

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Wilson reached a settlement with the Justice Department in July, granting him permission to sell plans for 3D-printed firearms online.

He sued the State Department in 2015, when it ordered him to remove blueprints for his 3-D printed gun called "The Liberator" from the Internet, citing rules about the regulation of exporting military data called the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In August, Judge Robert Lasnik of the U.S. District Court in Seattle issued a preliminary injunction, ruling in favor of attorneys general from 19 states and Washington, D.C., who sought to block the release of the blueprints.


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