Pro-Business Group Pulls Endorsement Over Legislator's Testimony In Support Of Rapist

A libertarian-leaning, pro-business group withdrew its endorsement Friday from Wyoming state Rep Landon Brown because he spoke in support of a convicted rapist at a Thursday sentencing hearing.

Clair McFarland

May 24, 20244 min read

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne.
State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

A libertarian-leaning, pro-business group withdrew its endorsement Friday from a Wyoming state legislator who mirrors several of its values because he spoke in support of a convicted rapist at a Thursday sentencing hearing.

Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, was speaking in his personal capacity when he testified at the sentencing hearing for Gabriel Testerman, a former Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper convicted this year of first-degree sexual assault.

Brown, who told Cowboy State Daily he has long considered Testerman a friend, told the court Thursday that Testerman would have been a good candidate for a suspended sentence or probation. He’s watched Testerman grow and maintain his innocence during his two years of prosecution, he said.

The testimony prompted Americans for Prosperity, a libertarian-leaning, pro-business group, to withdraw the endorsement of Brown it announced earlier this week.

“Rep. Brown’s testimony in this case has raised serious concerns and we are immediately withdrawing our endorsement,” Tyler Lindholm, Wyoming director for Americans for Prosperity, told Cowboy State Daily in a Friday email in response to an inquiry about the endorsement announcement no longer being accessible via a link on Brown’s official Facebook page.

An Apology

Brown said he’s not concerned about the endorsement. But he offered a public apology for testifying in support of Testerman, citing his past 24 hours of reflection, a keen awareness about the pain some in this case have endured, and his support for the justice system.

“I truthfully don’t care about the endorsement. If AFP wishes to withdraw, that’s their choice,” he said. “Frankly, I will continue to do the same job regardless of any endorsement if the voters of (House District 9, Cheyenne) choose me to do so.”

In the 24 hours since Testerman’s sentencing hearing, Brown has recognized that it was “not in the best interest of justice” to ask for a lenient sentence for the defendant, he said.

“I spoke on behalf of a man I knew, not the one that made choices that he did, that caused the hurt and anguish that the victims have endured,” Brown said. “After looking at this from a step removed, I realize my statement hurt more people in the process and some have even called for me to resign my position in the public eye.”

Brown said Testerman’s actions are “his to bear witness to and pay the price for.”

He continued: “As I stated yesterday, I fully support the sentence and do believe justice prevailed.”

He apologized to Testerman’s victim, saying he’s deeply sorry he suggested the lenient sentence.

“I recognize your pain, anguish and torment over the past two years,” said Brown. “If I remove myself from yesterday, I don’t see how doing what I did would have done anyone any good and I have had the chance to reflect on my choice and sincerely apologize for it.”

On Thursday

Testerman’s case drew significantly from the statements of two alleged rape victims. The jury acquitted Testerman on two counts of first-degree sexual assault pertaining to one of the women. But it convicted him on a third count, pertaining to the other woman.

Testerman addressed his victim during his own sentencing hearing.

“I pray you find the peace you’ve searched for, for so long,” he told her, while speaking on his own behalf. He then urged the judge to allow him to return to his community as quickly as possible and be near his children.

Laramie County District Court Judge Robin Cooley could have chosen a sentence of between five and 50 years in prison, or she could have chosen probation for the conviction.

She sentenced Testerman to 10-15 years in prison, saying he has displayed an understanding that his “badge” could bring him advantages others don’t have, and that he abused the trust the community placed in him as a law officer.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter