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)

    Anyone and everyone, please let's all enter together and pray for Obama. Let's pray for his protection.
    Let's all unite together whether republican or democrat and read
    PSALM 91,Prayerof protection.

    Obama may God protect you and shield you
    from evil at all times.

    August 7, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Dick in Sioux Falls

    To Informed Florida Voter:

    You are one sick puppy. If I understand your blog, you are suggesting that Barack Obama is being protected by the Devil's lieutenants because you believe that Sen. Obama is of the Devil.

    I'm not sure if you are a racist, an insane Clinton or McCain supporter, or just a religious nut.

    Whoever you are, I suggest you make an effort to come to know Barack Obama. His whole life has been devoted to others. Because he is greatly gifted, he presents a target to anyone in the public sector less gifted or intelligent. Certainly, I look forward to having a President whose intelligence will be a comfortable change from the past 7 years. I also look forward to his debates with John McCain, who in my opinion lacks sufficient insight to carry this nation forward in a difficult time.

    August 7, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Ken B Boehmer

    Why is CNN reporting this guy had a 9mm handgun with armor piercing bullets. anyone who knows anything at all about wepons knows there in no such thing as a 9mm handgun that can do anything like that. how much false info can we take in the name of drama.

    August 7, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. PUMA in Training


    "I challenge every single racist and ignorant person in this country to fight with your minds and not violence. If you really feel the way you feel then express it in words and not violence. Innocent and descent people should not be hurt because they don’t fit “your” norm. "

    There are those in your own corner that need this talk. Also, you left out sexual orientation in your "...gender, race, and religion" line.

    August 7, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. Barry

    What about Jesse Jackson?? He said he wanted to cut the man's nuts off.

    August 7, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. Todd (Austin, Texas)

    Response to all those who say this guy was joking...he wouldn't have the arsenal he was found with if he was joking. Educate yourself on the story before you go off making misinformed... misleading comments.

    August 7, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Senator John Magoo

    Magoo should stop pushing this messiah/celebrity angle. Psychos are out there who will feel their delusions have been confirmed.

    August 7, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Solomon

    A stupid man, sinister thoughts, strong desire for cheap fame – that is one toxic combination !

    August 7, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. K

    LOCK that ignorant guy up. How terrible that there are still sick racists like that out there.

    August 7, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Todd (Austin, Texas)

    Brett August 7th, 2008 4:38 pm ET

    This is what Obama gets for projecting himself as the Messiah…Haha!

    Brett your comments border on criminal as well...what yourself. He hasn't presented himself as the Messiah...just a major change from the BS we have dealt with over the last 8 years.

    August 7, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Barack Has My Vote and God's Protection!

    Just like it says, Barack Obama has God's protection, and he certainly has my vote. God Bless him and his family.

    August 7, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. JenningTX

    God has all power in his hand. I will continue to pray for Obama and his family.

    August 7, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Guze in Md.

    The good Lord said, touch not my annointed and do my prophets no harm. Obama is in the hands of the Lord and no man or thing is going to stop the work of the lord.

    August 7, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Demisse

    This is ridiculous! I guess as history shows, when great movements take place, there always certain individuals who want to stop them!

    August 7, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. kell

    Why do opeople always think it is about race? can't this guy just be a sick person angry over obamas politics? didn';t he also threaten bush (who is white)? he just sounds sick:(

    August 7, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Killa Bee

    Matt is spot on. Jesse Jackson made the same kind of threat. But he's a celebrity ( I use the term loosely). Hypocracy

    August 7, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Angela Frazier, Memphis TN

    Oh God! Here we go!

    August 7, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. USNavySubWife

    Well said Matt!!!!

    August 7, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Not sleeping at the switch

    It starts.

    August 7, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. john l.a.

    This is not unusual, people like Ray Geisel need attention and unfortunately what he said or done has consequences. Obama will
    be fine, Secret Service has definitely learned alot since President Kennedy, Ford, Reagan and by guarding both Obama and McCain, this the ultimate job that they would rather not fail at again.

    August 7, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. deroy

    a publicity stunt.

    August 7, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. jon

    what about jesse jackson could he be charged as well for is statement on fox tv

    August 7, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. johnm

    Put him away for a very long time. I'd go after the "anonymous" poster also, who said "can't the Secret Service take a joke". It's not funny and not a joking matter. Your IP address is traceable, by the way, Mr. Anonymous.

    August 7, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  24. Lisa, MD

    I pray that no one would cause harm to him and his family God will punish them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. nathan

    is it possible that i love the comments on CNN more than CNN itself?

    August 7, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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