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. Education is key

    God would not have called Obama to run if HE weren't going to protect him.

    Education (and good typing) is key)

    August 7, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Franky

    Before I leave right now, I wonder what else I'm right about?? Is like predicting the future.....when God knows, I know...

    I'm out guys, my little niece is gonna use the computer for a bit..

    August 7, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Derek in Seattle

    I think it's Bill

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

    You people are going to post a remark that Hillary probably put him up to it and I can't get posted? Wow.

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. An American

    Rush Limbaugh told him to do it

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Liberty

    It would be very bad for Republicans if someone knocked off Obama as Hillary would be stronger candidate. However what is in Clintons' best interest. Let's hope his security detail can prevent him from being "vince fostered". By the way why is CNN avoiding the John Edwards love child story.? If it happened to Romney ya all would report in a minute and don't use the Mrs. Edwards has cancer excuse as she already knows the truth and Romney's wife has Multiple Sclerosis but MSM would be camping out in his front yard under similiar circumstances.

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Jovana

    How sad. But this is just one of many to come unfortunately.

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. cherrystrawberry

    from NSNBC:

    "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. "

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Maybe it was the Big Oil like Exxon.

    August 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. John

    Has anyone checked Bill Clinton's travel records to see if he's been in Marathon, Florida lately? After his recent refusal to endorse the presumptive Democratic nominee, one has to wonder what kind of strategy he and Hillary have developed for STILL trying to get into the White House?

    August 7, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. herald of whoa

    Good job and kudos to the Secret Service. those guys and GALS are real pros.

    Sorry for the omission.

    August 7, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    not funny but maybe he was joking.

    August 7, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Shari, NY

    Come on America – let’s be a role model here. Let’s unite and love one another.

    Don’t worry Sen. Obama – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” and that’s a message from above!

    Forget Jesse, folks – he's probably serving his sentence (penance) right now!

    August 7, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Kris

    If Obama becomes president, this isnt going to be the last attempt.. or threat or etc.. There are plenty of ppl out there that will not like having a black president.. and I think some have made that clear..

    I am not an Obama fan either nor any of the current political ppl around, but death isnt the answer because there will eventually be a black or female president..

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Cheryl

    I couldn't stand if this country had another Bobbie Kennedy experience. He was our best hope for a better way back when I was a kid and we were robbed. Robbed of so much. I think I'd just sink into despair if that happened again.

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Obama is a nuncio-one part of my brain prays for his safety-the other part cries out to silence his wierdo socialist agenda and ideology with all resources.

    I am no killer–I've served 24 years in the military under Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II.

    But I'm very concerned about the direction our nation may take under Obama. We have the constitutional right to overthrow tyranny-would a socialist Presidencey like Obama's be considered tyrannical?

    I know there are a lot of patriots–who would take up arms if their liberties are threatened. As it was in 1776– Americans minds are made up–tyrrany will not prevail on this land.

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. jim

    It is just because of these articles that it has come up. I suspect most are coming from the right!

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Chris from NY

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought this day might come but I never thought it would be this early. I am persuaded to beleive that this guy didn't do this because Obama is black because certainly other president's lives have been threatened and sometimes attempts made on them. But never I heard a presidentail candidate's life being threatened. It's because of the hate they see spewed on the television. Some pundits take pride in playing right into people's insecurities.

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Johnson in St. Louis

    I think some of the commentary I've read on here is just as bad as the threat. Some folks think it's funny. I am not a great supporter of Bush nor Cheney but I would take great offense and take it very serious if some nutcase threaten their lives. I guess if this man took his threat out these same people would be jumping for joy. It's really disgusting.

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. lady

    Its amazing to me how many people I have witnessed wishing death on our current president. People need to respect the candidates, officials already in office. Where has common sense gone with so many people?

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Berndt Seattle, WA

    I am not a fan of NOBama, but I certainly don't want anyone killing him. That would surely turn him in to some kind of martyr and we'd never hear the end of it.

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Adrian Veidt

    It's sad that there are people so terrified of change and so hateful that they'd rather kill a candidate than risk the possibility of seeing them elected (this can go for either candidate).

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. "Pot, Booze and Blow when I could afford it" Obama 95

    Those Florida Democrats are pretty upset their vote didn't count...

    All fun aside... things like this are upsetting... glad they caught him...
    I remember Reagan being shot, the photos of JFK, etc... So hard on a nation.

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Sheri

    There has never been a guy like Obama 1/2 white 1/2 black as president of the United States. This nation has always been a nation of hate with some people. Doesn't surprise me.

    This is the America. What else?

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. FunknucklejoneS

    Ben: your ignorant if you didn't think this was going to happen and that it is a ploy from republicans...

    August 7, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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