August 7th, 2008
09:40 PM ET
6 years ago

New Details: Man held for alleged Obama assassination threat

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Raymond Hunter Geisel is being held on charges that he threatened to assassinate Sen. Barack Obama.
Raymond Hunter Geisel is being held on charges that he threatened to assassinate Sen. Barack Obama.

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) - A man was being held in Florida on Thursday on charges he told classmates at a training seminar that he would kill Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama if he is elected, according to a law enforcement official and court documents.

The threats came just days before Obama was scheduled to visit Florida and were made by a person discovered to have ammunition, a handgun and other weapons, authorities said.

An affidavit filed by a Secret Service agent in U.S. District Court claims that Raymond Hunter Geisel, of Marathon, Florida, threatened to "kill, kidnap and cause bodily harm upon a major candidate for president of the United States, that is, Senator Barack Obama."

A search of Geisel's vehicle and a hotel room in Miami, where Geisel was attending a bail bondsman training class, found a 9-mm handgun, ammunition that included armor-piercing and rifle bullets, police-style emergency lights, body armor, a machete and two canisters of tear gas, among other military-style items, according to the document.

Agents say that classmates of Geisel reported that, between July 25-28, Geisel used a racial slur toward Obama and said "if he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself."

A classmate said that, one day after class, she also heard Geisel say "that he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president's head."


Obama made several campaign stops in Florida on Friday, a day before federal agents arrested Geisel at a Holiday Inn Express in Miami.

During an interview with the Secret Service, Geisel said he couldn't remember whether he threatened Obama and the president, but told agents that "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he would simply shoot him with a sniper rifle."

He later said that comment was a joke, the agent said in the document.

Geisel also said he has post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects his memory, and had once checked himself into a psychiatric institution for treatment.

The affidavit, signed by Special Agent Charles R. Adie, said Geisel "generally provided no excuse" for why he had the weapons and other items - claiming that he collects some of them, that the handgun was for target practice during the bail bondsman course and that he uses the machete and a hatchet for cutting through brush in Maine, where he lived most of his life before moving to Florida in January.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown ordered that Geisel be held in jail until his trial, calling him a danger to the community and a risk to run away before his date in court.

The judge noted that Geisel lives on a sailboat, is unemployed and has no strong ties to the Florida area.

Geisel is scheduled to appear in court on August 18. If he has been officially indicted by then, he would enter a plea. If not, it would merely be a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Click here to read the Secret Service affidavit


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra
soundoff (662 Responses)
  1. Catrina

    Let's all calm down, shall we? This was not orchestrated by Hillary or McCain. To put it simply, there are juat a bunch of crazy, hateful people in this boards, just like on this message board.

    Let's put things in perspective, every presidential candidate of this caliber has been threatened in some capacity. This is nothing new.
    But of course, this must be taken seriously as this is a serious threat.
    Offenders must be punished for their duranged thinking and threatening no matter who the target.

    Obama "08

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. MGC

    To the Anonymous Coward who said: "Can't the Secret Service take a joke?" It's their job not to.

    Threats at airports are taken seriously, why not take it seriously when it's directed at someone specifically?

    This man is more than a presedential hopeful. He has a family that loves him and it'd be devasting to lose him to some senseless, angry, selfish idiot.

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. Michael G- Ventura ca

    Matt- That's ABSURD. This is so typical of the republican mind-set. Perfect example of how much we need CHANGE!

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Hillary 08!

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. Alan Leftridge

    I appreciate some comments regarding a double-standard and Jesse Jackson. However, I encourage those of you who have written about a double-standard, as well as everyone who has commented, to read the full text of the Secret Service agent's affidavit.

    Working even tangentially in the penal system Raymond Hunter Geisel should have known comments like his are not taken as jokes. Case in point, try using the word bomb in a joke with a TSA agent at the airport.

    Geisel needs removal from mainstream society and psychiatric attention.

    August 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Catrina

    Let's all calm down, shall we? This was not orchestrated by Hillary or McCain. To put it simply, there are just a bunch of crazy, hateful people in this world, just like on this message board.

    Let's put things in perspective, every presidential candidate of this caliber has been threatened in some capacity. This is nothing new.
    But of course, this must be taken seriously as this is a serious threat.
    Offenders must be punished for their duranged thinking and threatening no matter who the target.

    Obama "08

    August 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. terri ohio

    God Bless Senator Obama and soften the heart of all the crazy lunatics that would dl him harm

    August 7, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. JetfireK

    Barack Obama, " This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. That politicians may not be perfect but they can always be perfected."

    Barack Obama is the first to address the issue of race. In the past, we have always walked on "eggshells" pretending that things were "fine" until this brave man stepped forth and lay everything before us.

    Thank you Barack Obama.....

    August 7, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. thought police

    did he actually do something?

    August 7, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. ben

    I've been afraid of something like this all along. He was not joking and this is really sad. There will probably be others. We should all include
    both Senators, their families and the Secret Service in our prayers.

    August 7, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Dem in FL

    CNN...shame on you. YOu need to delete the comments regarding accusations that Hillary had something to do with it. Its ignorant, its offensive, and it has NO place here!

    August 7, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Eddie

    The difference is Matt, that when asked BY THE SECRET SERVICE, he:

    told agents that "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he would simply shoot him with a sniper rifle."

    When the Secret Service is asking you questions, YOU DO NOT JOKE! If he had said it was an off the cuff remark and he didn't mean it, this would be over

    August 7, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Martha

    This just shows how much racism STILL exists in the United States. I wonder about people like you Brett. Regardless who you endorse, nobody deserves this.

    August 7, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. iamjustinm

    @ Matt & Haters

    How could you compare a self admitted mentally ill person with a loaded rifle, pistols, body armor, armor piercing bullets, and much more who said "I will kill him myself." to Jesse Jackson who was talking about issues? I'd like for both of your records to be looked at as well.

    August 7, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. How sad...

    Geez, I knew the PUMA people were nuts but this is getting way out of hand!

    August 7, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Bahb

    Well Matt, Obama isn't a traitor like our sitting president is... (Traitor to his oath to uphold the constitution)

    August 7, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Barack Obama IS Our 44th president! YES WE CAN !!!

    Isaiah 54:17 (King James Version)

    No weapon that is formed against [Barack Obama, his campaign, his presidency, his family ] shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against [Barack Obama, his campaign, his presidency, his family ] in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is [Barack Obama, his campaign,his presidency, his family ] heritage of the servants of the LORD, and [Barack Obama, his campaign, his presidency, his family ] righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

    Bless you and your family Mr. President Obama

    It's time for REAL change in Washington, it's time to elect Barack Obama for president !

    Amen !

    August 7, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Haters......how do you know he was white? Maybe you've seen a picture of him but I haven't.

    August 7, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Patrick

    i hope some of you actually realize he threatened Bush too

    August 7, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. RLG Virginia

    Hmmm....21st century politics. Feel the love.
    There's a lotta angry rednecks out there, thinking about this. And a lot of people are scared to vote for Obama, because if the haters get their way, he won't be in office for long.
    I just wonder how long it will be before they stop talking in code ("don't vote for a Muslim") and say what's really on their minds- an old fashioned lynching.

    August 7, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Todd (Austin, Texas)

    Lock him up and throw away the key...
    I would give him less then two weeks in prison once the word spreads about his threats.

    August 7, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. DLF

    What a bunch of hypocrites!

    So a guy is sitting around yapping about the candidates and says what he would like to do to Obama.

    When I read all of the hateful posts about Hillary and McCain and see all the posts on this I can’t help but wonder how hypocritical the Obama bots are!

    The Obama Bots are crazier than this guy!!!

    I am sure there are many, many more people sitting around and saying stuff like this all over the country. Maybe the government should detain all those who dare say anything naughty about the so-called messiah?

    August 7, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. rocky

    it seems there are people out there who have nothing else better to do than bash one another. i'm sure this kinda thing happens to all president-elects. this election just happens to be a top-header for the era. who says its not a set up to make him look woe-is-me.....give me the votes...i've been threatened...at this rate i think a dog could just as well running for presdient...at least he's man's best friend, cant say that about the men running for presdient

    August 7, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. voter

    He should be barred from gun purchases for the rest of his life.

    Infact, anyone that gets caught making empty threats like this to ANYONE shouldn't be able to purchase a gun for the rest of their life (if this isn't already in place?)

    Same with anyone that's been to counseling within 1-2 years for certain types of things.

    August 7, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. t

    What is sad is I see comments that say its was a joke .I Wonder if they found it funny if it where there father or brother. ! Thats who the senator is someones Husband, Father, Brother, Child. I know these Right wing crazies hate black people so I know more ingorance will spew until this is over!

    August 7, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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