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. Richard in Arkansas

    One would hope that the media wouldn't report something like this, and just let the professionals handle it behind the scenes. Maybe that's hoping for too much in our society today. Sad.

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Tami Gipson

    We should take this kind of threat very seriously on Obama's life. History has shown us that monumental change has come at a horrible cost. I pray that our country has moved past the fear of change and embrace to future. If you know someone who is really upset with Obama to the extent of hurting him... suggest counciling and contact your local authorities.

    That guy was a nut... and if not he his going to learn you just dont say anything..thats for sure!

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Don't blame him! Blame Autism!

    August 7, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Grace

    The seed of that thought was planted by ?? a while back.

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. MattinOH

    No pun intended........

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Chanda-Cincinnati

    To Thomas:

    I read and still read many a hateful comment from Hillary supporters about Obama during the primaries and now. If she were the Democratic nominee, I would not be juvenile enough to hold the comments of her supporters against her and use that as a lame excuse to not vote for her. Obama not Hillary can control what thier supporters say/do. I would still support my party's nominee, since inevitably thier views on the issues would line up with mine much much more than those of a Republican. So please stop coming up with these sorry excuses as to why you won't support Obama. Be man enough to simply say I don't like him. Or better yet, stop throwing tantrums and get behind the man whose stance on the issues are the most in line with the thinking of your beloved Hillary.

    As for this threat, Ray Charles could have seen this coming...and to RE I AM SURE BOTH THE CANDIDATES APPRECIATE THOSE WHO PROTECT THEM!!!

    P.S. to the idiot who asked why Jesse was not arrested for his "hot mic" comments......Get a Life!

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Matt in Michigan

    Like no one saw this coming. He is one of the most notable people in the world right now and one of the most polarizing so you know the crazies are going to be coming out of the woodwork. Personally I hope he loses the election as I see the country going to Hell with a socialist/marxist president. He ranks at the bottom and only slightly below Clinton and McCain on my "Bad-choice-for-President-o-meter."

    However I think this guy may have taken his views to an extreme. Kind of like making terrorist jokes at an airport, not something you want to do.

    Honestly if something did happen to him my first thought would be that someone close to Clinton would be involved but I said that several months ago. Look at the track record of people close to the Clintons that had "mysterious accidents".

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Rebecca

    Very relieved that he's behind bars!!!! 🙁

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. GERRY

    After submitting my previous comments i then read all the comments already posted. It is beyond my comprehension that the negativity, bashing, blame, and all the plain stupid comments. Barack is a human beign first and is eqaul in GOD's sight and under the laws of our beloved land. Whites,Southreners Hillbillies), other political canidates, people for him or against him are no better then he is.
    Come on people get real.

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Vera

    I am so sad, I want to cry. Senator Obama, brilliant, decent, talented man, a true leader subjected himself and his family to the worst treatment one can imagine just because he is running for President. And probably the worst, so far, are vicious unjustified attacks from McCain. McCain should be ashamed of himself. I do not want Senator Obama to call that man “honorable” anymore. He is not honorable in my book.

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. seeing the truth

    the sad thing is after reading these post for so long now....America deserve McCain. we will deserve all that he has to offer, the war with Iran all of it who knows may be it might just go nuclear and then we will have problems no more. there will be no questions about Hill running in 2012, because there will be no 2012. I guess it is sadly true,Americans are just plain STUPID...we have a choice today, to change the direction our country is going...and you idiots want to vote for McCain, and the other idiots, who are as dangerous want to high jack America with your misguided obsession with Hillary. IF Hillary had what it took to lead she would have rebutted you PUMAs long ago, like she asked of Obama regarding is a sad day for this Nation and our world.

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. All

    Want to be that Geisel is an Obama supporter and did this so that Obama could get more free publicity?

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. PUMA Guy

    All your talk and bashing about PUMA's has made me look into the PUMA group and has pushed me to join that movement. Thanks to you all for talking trash about them!

    Obama supporters are all high and mighty because he was selected so I'll definitely be staying away from supporting Obama and his movement.

    Saying stuff like Hillary is for that is as disgusting as the article itself. You people make me sick.

    Hillary or McCain '08

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. What if?

    Thank you Hillary and your stalkers..........ops..........supporters..........

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Donna in ID

    Some people seem to have a very strange since of humor. I have wondered why Jackson didn't get into trouble over the castration remark. Some men just let their mouth run (motor mouth). And they talk about women and big mouths. No contest guys you win.

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Observer

    This is something you NEVER joke about. I don't care the circumstance or reason, this is NEVER funny. Book 'em Dano!

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Tonia

    should have let the vote count along time ago

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Obama all the way

    For the year 2008, God has put this nation to test. This time we will really know the true America and all it's dreams whether a nation of christianity or not. The blood of Jesus is upon Obama and no weapon formed against him will prosper. Lock that duck up for 100 years.

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Bird

    The scariest part of this is that the guy was about to or might already be a bounty hunter. I guess anyone can get that gig.

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. DC, SD

    Wow.....sad, not surprising. are awful.

    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Jay Los Angeles

    None of this has to do with politics; it has everything to do with Obama for who he is.

    The Colorado Marches, claim they are doing it to get Hillary on the ticket, well Hillary is telling them not to.

    The people that refuse to believe the facts that he is not Muslim, and all the other junk they are throwing up in the air, to see what *()&) lands and sticks in the minds of those looking for a reason to believe that a black man can not accomplish more than the nut job we already have in office.

    If the majority of Americans that are tired of all the political junk, partisan nonsense, and failed policies that has most of us in a funk, allow a remnant of the: its my way or the highway junkies to push us back while we have got our foot in the door of potential change, that will take us out of our condition in America for four more years of this living hell.

    We deserve exactly what we get, four more years of unregulated corporate greed, poor healthcare, under funded schools, poor infrastructure, staying in Iraq, open borders, low law enforcement moral, political corruption, NAFTA, CAFTA, off shore drilling, unemployment, homelessness, while the fat cats live off the hog.


    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. WeCanSeeRightThruObama

    Wow this is horrible and the man should be locked up for good.

    However, the people blaming Hillary (or even Republicans for that matter) should be ashamed of themselves for even suggesting that they had something to do with it.

    You people absolutley sicken me.

    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Well, this follows logically from all,the other crimes against Obama... You're a racist if you don't agree with him. You're anti-American if you don't vote for him. You are a traitor if you don't agree with everything he says, no matter how much he changes positions. You're a criminal if you don't continually praise him. Now, you're a murderer if you dare make a joke about him.
    You know, I remember a guy who was like that. He and his lackies told us that we aren't patriotic, and we're being criminals if we dare disagree with him... His name was George W. Bush...

    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Elaine Smith


    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Ready for Change

    Yes are ohhhhhhhh so right on the mark.

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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