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

New Details: Man held for alleged Obama assassination threat


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Dj from Illinois

    To all those trying to compare this to Jesse Jackson's comment, how ignorant are you? Like Barack said, do you take pride in being ignorant? There is absolutely no comparison in the two and I not going to waste my time trying to explain why because I don't believe anyone can be THAT stupid.

    I would be absolutely heart broken if those two little innocent girls lost their father to pure hate. Racism is nothing more jealousy. Racism allows all the stupid racist people (of all colors) make themselves beleive they are smarter/better than others.

    And yes, I do blame Hillary to a degree, IF this fool is a Hillary psycho. She has polarized the party and made fanatics out of her fans.

    I wouldn't be made at BO if he dropped out. This is not worth his life. Let the ignorant racists people of the world win this one.

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. LJinLA

    When Barack commuted himself to this thankless (or at least partiallly thankless ) effort, he knew what he was in for. His hope is that the majority of the voting country is wise enough to support his attempt to give the country back to the people. That's what ALL of us say we want, yet some of us are still blinded by various conditioning cycles over the years. Honestly, if you have not multiplied your wealth by virtue of oil or defense industry wares, you are not a Modern Day Republican. If you are not unfazed about today's current economy, you aren't a MDR. They gladly welcome you wanting to be one, and need your votes, but in the end, you get stiffed just like the vast majority, or 98% of us do. Unfortunately, only half of us are lucid, though more are waking up every day.

    I recommend you research the Times/Bloomberg poll for the end of June.

    Though the two horse race is closer, when you factor the top 4 likely candidates, Obama holds his pace and is ahead over a dozen points. This still does not really factor in the young guns who could care less about all of this pre-election drama but will be in booths in droves to vote for Obama.

    Hillary will be the first woman President even at her older age after a successful two terms of Obama led change, and his full support and popularity exceeding even Bill's. Hopefully she will earn that support beginning tomorrow.
    FYI, I'm a independent since the 70's and proud of it.

    The best hope for anyone under 250 thousand a year is Obama. His congress and our collectives voices will set this country right. His cabinet is going to be possibly one of the best for us ever.

    Final note: This comment comes to you from a product of South Central Los Angeles, educated in L.A.U.S.D. Publc schools work, especially when we make sure the resources are there, and we the people get involved.

    Do the right thing for all of us. Shake up the status quo.

    Vote for Obama, you will vote for US, and who could better restore the Constitution than a Constitutional professor?

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Tonya, ID


    Okay, so let's lock up Jesse Jackson now. You really think Barack needs to be worried about Jessie Jackson? Get real.

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Peter E

    I'm tired of articles trying to portray Obama's priveleged hind as somehow the 'victim of the world.' At the same time the MSM refuses to fact check and publish the facts about Obama's actual record on issues relevant to us. I have to learn all of that from BBC, or, amazingly Obama's own website! Which the MSM also never read....

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Jo

    You Hillary haters need to get a life. She is a powerful person and would have been a terrific nominee but she is not responsible for all the bad things that involve Obama. I get that you want someone to blame all the time but it looks very silly to always blame the Clintons. Jesse Jackson is the only one who has threatened Obama with bodily harm. Look his direction if you have to blame someone.

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. victorhill

    A Message to Sen. Obama and his supporters;

    Here's a quote befitting of your whole improbable journey to the US presidency. You've probably heard it before. It's from the great Mahatma Ghandi:

    First they ignore you
    Then they laugh at you
    Then they fight you
    Then you win.
    So be encouraged!

    August 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    CNN –

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Imperative that VPs be someone the people would vote in.

    Obama will always have nutcases like this threatening him. Read some of the PUMA blogs.

    McCain is old and provokes anti-war people to do the same and threaten him.

    I fear we will end up with a VP appointment that no one would vote for, then we'll be stuck with that person later.

    August 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Michelle

    Is it true that the suspect also threatened Bush?

    August 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Jack - Des Moines

    Obama has been languishing in the polls from what they were expecting. This is clearly an attempt to garner sympathy for Obama.

    August 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Scott, Oregon the Left Coast

    Ana – I'm sure Bill and Hillary do not wish death upon anyone. Maybe it's just your way of thinking. It's a sad day in the world when anyone thinks someone should be dead.
    Humans make life on earth not the Gods. You are either a good human or your not. Period!!

    August 7, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. KC

    I wish the news would not report it, it just incourages other nut cases.

    August 7, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    OMG...I am so sad that it came to this...not surprised with all the racist idiots out there, but so very thankful that they locked this whacko up before he could cause harm to future POTUS Obama. I pray Obama and his family have a safe and rejuvenating vacation. And may this idiot Geisel rot in jail...for starters.

    August 7, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Sig, Los Angeles CA


    If most of you Hillary supporters weren't so vile against a man who beat your candidate fair and square, perhaps they wouldn't have anything to say.

    Go vote McCain you loser!

    August 7, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Alex

    It doesn't matter what party you support, this isn't the stuff you joke about. We don't need another Sirhan or Hinkley.

    August 7, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. LJinLA



    August 7, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Boston For OBAMA

    OBAMA 08
    The US is being closely watched by the world during this election. If you can't join together here how can you tell another nation how to run their country.

    Wake up America

    August 7, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. What if?

    Matt, Canoga Park August 7th, 2008 4:24 pm ET...........Jesse
    Most of us agree with you about Jackson. Yes, he should have had been brought in by the Secret Service and questioned as this person was, charges should have ended the questioning process. He brought shame especially to the African American community and other minorities that supported him when he was running for President.

    It wasn't anything cute about his big mouth or his stupid comment.

    So right…….A threat is a threat

    Obama 08

    August 7, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Mike

    Probably a plant by the Obama team to once again raise the race issue

    August 7, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Ron Paul!

    Gonna happen more often, some people are still racist. He might wanna be careful and back out

    August 7, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    If something happens to this man, it will on solidify to the rest of the world that our country is still a very hateful place over popluated with racist hateful people who get bitter and angry when things don't go their way.

    August 7, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. Todd


    August 7, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Vegas


    It was found out later they planned that to happen... and paid the kid to deliver the note... talk about pandering... oh and if you don't beleive it.. simply look it up!

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. India, NM

    So we're going to let a few narrow minds dictate to us as to who should be our president and who shouldn't be? This is America, we have elections. The day this country allows anyone to bully us into doing what they want us to do, is the day we should hand in our citizenship. If you think that's going to happen, you're a lunatic.

    I will be voting for Barack Obama on November 4th around 12 o'clock in the afternoon. And any cowardly ego-deprived-moronic loser can go stuff it.

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Steve

    so why is this board littered with idiots saying this is racism. Did he say he wanted to do it because he was black.

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. MattinOH

    Ok, I'll bite.

    What's a PUMA?

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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