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. The Clear Thinking Independent

    This is why Hillary's poorly chosen words about Bobby Kennedy and foot dragging drew / draw scrutiny.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Willow, from Iowa

    Some joke, huh? Just saying that is called conspiracy to commit. That guy is going to find out how long they can hold someone for saying things like that.

    I've been nervous about this kind of thing for awhile. But I guess any of the candidates are at some risk, even HRC and McC. If someone does something like that, you will hear a roar across our entire country. After MLK, JFK, and RK, this would be the absolute last straw.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. EJ in Houston

    I guess the suprise here is that it took so long for some nutcase to make this statement. I think Huckabee made a joke about this in a similar situation but let's face it, there are STILL some real far-right wing wackos out there that would not mind this coming true. Really sad to think we still haven't come that far yet.

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


    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. fella from Chicago

    They'll be those who joke and those who are serious. Both candidates knew what they were going to confront when they signed on to run for the Presidency. Unfortunately, it goes with the job and that's why there's a Secret Service.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. AJ

    It's not a joke. It was only a matter of time. I know this is a cynical opinion of America, but if Obama does win the presidency, he will need to MOST secret service protection of all times. Some people arent ready to have a Black president.

    The FBI called MLK the "most dangerous negro" in America. Who do the think "they" think is most dangerous now?

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Nate Hussein

    @Matt, Canoga Park
    How many guns were found in Jesse Jackson's house? What double standard?

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. JC

    It's this kinda stuff that has me still waiting to be proud of my country throughout my adult life.
    The world has no place these hate-filled racists.

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Dan

    OK, now that this issue is in the open, I wonder how many copy cats are going to come out now and try to out-do each other – good job Media. Wow, this election is really starting to get exciting, isn't it?

    August 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Obama supporter: 60 year old white woman

    This election is too long...letting emotions and resentments fester...negative campaigning...dicing the population into different demographics..other countries who are very democratic manage to do this in a few months without questions about polling machines, paper ballots, irregular registrations, biased media.....what has America come to?

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Deborah

    This guy should be put away, joke or not, we all knew some fool like this would come out soon. Keep up the good work SS.

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. CONCERNED!!!!!

    I am not Surprised .....Lots of hate in America and racism is live and well ........most of the Comments says it all ....God Bless you Senator Obama

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. ana

    I m sure bill and Hillary would love this to happend.

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. B

    I may not like the man myself, but threatening to kill him is taking it way too far. Call him names, don't vote for him, but threatening Mr. Obama or any other person because you don't agree with their views is just the kind of stupidity this country has fought against since it's birth.

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Thomas

    "I bet Hillary put him up to it."

    "Hillary and her supporters will go to."

    "He's probably a PUMA repug!"

    – You people are the ones who need to get a life. Note these comments are why most of Hillary supporters will not vote for Obama...

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Fun times!

    I'm sure secret service agents love it when you joke around with them.

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. YES WE CAN!

    That is not funny in any way shape or form.

    August 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. R.I.F.

    And then you have silly articles like Dana Milbank's last week that was making it seem as if Obama had a bunch of secret service just to make himself look more important. I think being the presumtive democratic nominee for president is more than enough importance. He has extra detail because of idiots like this guy.

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Bola

    Plotting to take someone's life for whatever reason, is wrong and unGodly. Whatever political party Senator Obama represents, he is first and foremost an American, and should be safe to be whoever he wishes to be in this great country, whether it be a Joe America, a U.S. Senator and even a contender for the U.S. presidency without fearing for his life. We need to remember that Senator Obama is someone's son, husband and father. Therefore, do unto him what you wish to be done unto you.

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. D R

    Please pray for everyone in this world to accept each other. I've feared that this would happen! Please dear God protect us all!

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Matt

    Good Lord, the guy was joking!

    People all over these blogs say worse (far worse) about Bush on a daily, if not hourly basis!!

    You Obamaphiles take yourselves too seriously!!

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Dan

    Obama/Powell 2008

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Griff

    No Comment! Politics........

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Isn't it a pity

    What a low-life bottom feeder. This is the America that I will be leaving to my children. No wonder they are so cynical about their future.

    August 7, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Sam, Tulsa,Ok

    Prayer is the key Obama. The Lord that brought you this far is even more than able to take you through. Jesus is able!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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