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. Whining Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    So, are the blind, bitter, hateful, glorying-in-their-ignorance PUMA psychos with their major malfunction going to openly wish that Geisel would have been able to carry out his apparent threat?

    And, on an unrelated note: I know that somebody will inevitably post something to the effect of "Cue this or that in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" or "Let the hateful comments start in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..." Please... this countdown thing was clever for only the first 58 billion times I've seen it here in the Ticker, and after that it has gotten pretty old. It's especially cheesy when it appears in the middle or near the bottom of the thread, underneath many of the anticipated hateful or "cued" comments.

    August 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    He must listens to the haters on Fox News and Rush Gumba!

    August 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    More PUMAs, huh?

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Dan

    This is the reason the rest of the world thinks Americans are morons. It is absolutely ridiculous that something like this would happen, and unfortunately I'm sure it won't be the last time something like this comes up.

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    This has been my biggest fear in this election year, and continues to be. Hatred is at a new height in this country, and racists abound.

    Can't we just let the hatred go, folks, and deal on a more rational level?

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Cheryl

    So much hatred in this country. People should appreciate the courage it takes for Obama (and his family) to run for president. No wonder his stolen prayer from the Western Wall started with a request for God's protection for his family and himself. This must be on their minds all the time. He must have a very strong desire to serve his country to risk this.

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Karen B in Houston

    This is only a preview of what's to come, and many in the black community have expected these type of antics.

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. ClintonDem4Cynthia08

    Thats awful. Once Cynthia McKinney is president, things like this will stop happening. Go Green 08!

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Marge Hibbing Mn

    With all the conterversary he has raised it is a wonder that there have not been more threats. As well as threats to McCain and even tho she is not the candidate, Hillary Clinton also.

    I bet there are a lot of people out there that have threatened them. They just haven't been caught. I think it is terrible that people go out and shoot other people.

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Eric (a white guy)

    Raymond Hunter Geisel, at a bailbondsman training course – wow... I wonder if he's a hillbilly?

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. democrat

    This country is full of ignorant people that if given the chance will hold the country back from moving forward and becomming that place that it was once known for!

    August 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. dAVE

    Right-wing American terrorists are real, and a threat.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Tom

    If elected I would bet money that at least 1 attempt will be made on Obama's life in the 4 years, the question is do they have odds in Vagas for it?

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. R.I.F.

    This is why Huckabee jokes aren't funny. Obama's often compared to JKF and MLK and unfortuantly they both lost their life to idiots like this guy.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. CaddyRich

    Maybe he thought it would look good on his resume if he wants to work at Fox News.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. jmeeze

    This will just incite other idiots to make similar attempts. The story amounts to nothing so far. No plot or anything, just a guy who talked to much and happend weapons. Hopefully the feds will foil real plots and not just a guy talking out the side of his neck at a 'bails bondmen' training.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Bad Idea

    ummmm..... word of advice. Don't joke with the Secret Service.

    just a little fyi.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Leper Colony on Pariah Hill

    This is why Hillary only suspended her campaign. Although Hillary supporters are salivating at such a prospect, it is she who wants more than anything that her Robert Kennedy theory materializes.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Karen B in Houston

    Don't blame Clinton or McCain for this type of behavior. When you do that you make yourself seem just as ignorant as the person in this story.

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. JoelWhy

    So, let's see how the PUMAs can turn this into an anti-Obama issue...

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Arin

    Conspiracy Theorists, let the games begin. I'll start it off. I find it curious that this info was released to the press. Are they setting things up?

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Why is it a joke to threaten to kill or kidnap someone, especially a presidential candidate?

    Had these comments been made of Hillary Clinton if she was the nominee, this guy would be already in jail!

    August 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Alex

    well good find, need those people away...

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Mitchell

    So what, they made a movie on how to kill Bush and 2 books.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I saw a threat against him online and immediately called Secret Service to report it. They gather that kind of information, so be sure to report anything.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27