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. Cathy

    I even hesitate to comment on this...but as a strong Obama supporter and VERY in tune with the underlying racism and hate in this country this comes to me and I’m sure many others at no surprise. 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).

    Nevertheless, the only way we can fight the ignorance and hate like this is to deal with it head on BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY!!!!! Obama is the best candidate to lead this country into a better America….no matter, gender, race or religion.

    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.

    God hates ugly….not matter the color of your skin!!!!

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. sherry for Obama

    He also said he wanted to put a bullet in George W.Bush
    hes obviously a sick indivigual who has deep rooted problems.
    Well at least he didnt say he wanted to put one in Hilary.....He must like her

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Rush, Sean, Karl Rove and Fox News are to blame! Anti-American Scum bags!

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. PG

    With the right wingers and conservative radio hosts spreading hate no wonder people like this think it is o.k. to "joke." This is no joke! I would say the same thing if this occured against McCain.

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. mike E DANVILLE,VA

    Send MR.G to the front line in the war on terror since he wants to shoot someone. Let him think that is a joke.

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. cornelius

    I'm not surprised. Unfortunately....instead of focusing on the issues and the need for seems that race and ignorance will will have a louder voice in this election and quite possibly the next presidency. Its ironic that a black actor or even a woman can play a president on t.v. but when it comes down to reality, it becomes a different story. Due to the economic crisis and impending energy shortage, we must accept that change will be the norm and not resist what it may bring to our lives, because its that resistance is what put us in this position that we find ourselves now. We have to look to the future and recognize that it may be quite different from what we;ve grown accustom to.

    August 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. justme

    ..and so it begins. Mr. Lorenzo being a redneck has nothing to do with this, so leave yourself out of it.

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. RDS

    @Matt, Canoga Park....are you honestly serious? It's not even the same situation. Obviously Jackson didn't have any real plans to hurt Obama. This man really had intentions of doing harm to Obama. He supposedly made a similar threat against Bush

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    This was released from the AP by CURT ANDERSON- Legal Affairs Writer:

    'In the interview with a Secret Service agent, Geisel said "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking," according to court documents.

    A search of Geisel's 1998 Ford Explorer and hotel room in Miami uncovered a loaded 9mm handgun, knives, dozens of rounds of ammunition including armor-piercing types, body armor, military-style fatigues and a machete. The SUV was wired with flashing red and yellow emergency lights.'

    I am appreciative that the initial threat was taken seriously, investigated immediately and now the culprit is in custody. My prayers are with the candidates.

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. DR. YES

    this is the kind of hate ,that dirty politics stirs up.this is a sad nation.

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Peter


    And that goes for ANY presidential candidate who gets a threat like this.

    I am especially nervous about Obama. We saw the nut at the Unitarian Church who "hates Liberals" go crazy and shoot up a kids' play. We also heard the Grand Dragon of The KKK proclaim from atop his garbage pile that Obama would never serve.

    We can't let these lunatics take over this country.

    By the way, the Hillary remark wasn't funny.

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Dayahka

    For every one that speaks out like this, you can count on another thousand who think the same thing–and they're the ones you need to watch out for.

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Education is key

    I am not surprised. God will protect Senator Obama because he would not have called Obama to run if he wern't going to protect him.

    I hope they lock up the trash who threatened Obama

    August 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Tom B.

    Lets let the election process work and send McCain to the White House and Obama to his house.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. ChicagoLife

    We have a tendency to repeat this sad part of our history - a shortened life for our visionary leaders who give voice to hope and those without one. Sad to say its time for our version of the Pope Mobile to protect our visionary leaders.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. v.a.

    it was bound to happen eventually.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. herald of whoa

    The guy who is stupid enough to say something like that in public, gets what he has coming. It's the quiet klukker at home cleaning his gun we have to worry about. Good job and kudos to the Secret Service, those guys are real pros.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Lou Doubts != Independent

    I am not surprised that this idiot is from Florida. Florida is a redneck state...I'll pray for Bama!

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. S. Shay

    None of this makes sense. I know there are a lot of idiots in the world but who tells the Secret Service you'd kill the future President with a sniper riffle and then claim that's a joke? I guess it's funny cause no US President has ever actually been killed by sniper fire? This man is a pansy for either the Repubs or HRC. Funny how this comes out as HRC is planning to campaign in Florida. How many people want to bet she'll be asked 1000 questions about this while in Florida so that it stays in the news and overshadows her visit which is what she wants? Politics is a dirty game.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. DDGirl

    I am praying daily for Obama, and his Family . May God Bless cover him and his family with the protection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This Man Deserves to be President , and We Love him and his family Dearly. May God protect him and his volunteers and S.S. men.He is a blessing for us all.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. JT, Frederick, MD

    In Obama we trust. The lord will protect him. Obama 08/12

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. randy

    please GOD protect obama there a evils out there planing to end his life.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. FunknucklejoneS

    This does not surprise me...even though I will side with McCain before I'll ever side with Obama(or just about any other democrat for that matter) this is not a funny situation but I don't see it dissipating, I just see it getting worse. Somebody is going to try and maybe eventually succeed at killing this man just because he's black and could possibly run our country. That is not right by any means.

    August 7, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. stephy

    It's a shame that there are still people in this world who can only judge a person by the color of there skin, and not for who he is....a father, a husband, a son, an american.

    August 7, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |


    August 7, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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