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. Cling to Your Gun

    Maybe Obama was right, that some folks "cling to their guns" to bring them comfort in a difficult situation.

    Was Bill Clinton behind this? Another reason NOT to select Hillary as his running mate. She has something substantial to gain if Obama dies.

    August 7, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. The truth will set you free!

    Idiot, ignorant, hateful extremist liberals always blaming right wing Americans, the white guy, Red Necks, Fox New, Rush Limbaugh, etc.

    LOOK IN YOUR OWN have the likes of the Clintons who will stop at nothing to get/stay in power and the hateful Jesse Jackson who wanted to castrate Obama!!

    August 7, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Willy

    Who cares

    August 7, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. MarkieBee

    Hey're going fell pretty badly come Nov. 5 when the inexperienced, unelectable one not only wins the presidency but he does so by turning Nevada blue. We're extremely active in your state and are continuing to send volunteers from California (where Obama is up 25 points in the polls) to help out in the effort. McPain has NO ground game and we're registering Democrats at twice the pace of the Repugnantcans. Believe it. Nevada goes to Obama and so too does the White House.
    Obama '08...YES WE CAN!

    August 7, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. j

    I'm sure he'll be watched by the government for the rest of his life, I'm more afraid of him wanting revenge, and go after the people he suspects of telling on him.

    August 7, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. arlene, CA

    I am glad he is off the streets & in lockdown. This was a threat, not a joke. Allot of sick people out there.

    August 7, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. RD

    Jessie Jackson was so wrong to say what he did about his desire to do bodily harm to Senator Obama, but black on black threats as hateful as they are in no way can compare to the white on black threats. Let's not pretend that racial issues are not the elephant in the room in America. Bad enough that hateful things are posted online about regular Americans who aren't running for President over mundane things. These kind of threats have to be taken very seriously with all of our collective seething frustration and anger in many. God help us all and keep all of our elected officials safe and well.

    August 7, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Jim Bob Zeebo

    How much you wanna bet this guy is a dues-paying NRA member?

    Yeah, America, let's arm all the racist, rightwing, blackhelicopter-chasing wackjobs like this guy–THAT'LL make us all safer. Not.

    August 7, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Dominique

    This is not a laughing matter and I am so happy this person was arrested. Based on our history there is no reason to ever joke about killing a political figure.

    August 7, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. War Crimes

    Killing someone is not the way to solve probems. Bush seems to think this and McCain is A Bush. If anyone needs a "bullet" it's Bush. "Bullet" meaning... this man needs to be charged for his crimes and locked away.

    August 7, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. informed voter in fl

    So many of you bigots hate President Bush and didn't say a peep about this man threatening to kill our actual PRESIDENT, yet you jump on the bandwagon ande scream RACISM when he threatens Obama. This is the exact reason I tore up my democrat voter registration card and re-registered republican. Obama and his "supporters' have just played the race card to death and i'm sick of it. They tell us Hillary supporters to suck it up and realize she lost but then they go on to say that if Obama loses , then it will be Hillarys fault. What a bunch of idiots who have fallen in with this smooth talking race terrorist. Obama will lose and guess will be no one's fault but Obama's and his foul, angry bunch of cult member followers.

    August 7, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. qrstuv

    I'm fairly sure this won't get past the CNN moderators, but I'll try anyway [CNN guys note: I regularly post as qrstuv on many blogs.]

    Cathy above says: "Never on CNN’s blog but on many conservative blogs I have seen down right racism and hatred statement toward Obama. The statement were not because they disagreed with Obama’s position on the issues but only because he is black (and nothing more)."

    Now I read the conservative blogs a bit myself, and I have never seen any of the blog owners or regulars write *anything* suggesting that they thought whites were superior to blacks.

    I see it all the time that conservatives get accused of secretly harboring racist thoughts, which are supposedly the "real" reason for opposing some liberal policy or other.

    Here's a fact that is likely unknown to CNN regulars: The conservativematch Web site has a set of questions that everyone answers. Among them is "All men are created equal. Do you agree or disagree?" I have looked at a lot of people's answers and saw "disagree" only ONE time.

    August 7, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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