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. Nikki

    Charges should be filed for some of the aweful comments that I have read on the internet.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. fairandstraight

    No weapon formed against Sen. Obama will prosper.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Wayne

    Obviously, whoever reported him did not think it was a joke.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Silence Dogood

    I bet the Secret Service is continually questioning and arresting people for threatening politicians. And they should have zero tolerance for such things – good job.

    But after the Empty Suit fans get a hold of this, wait to see what this is turned into.

    McWar's best hope is a terrorist threat before November.
    Empty-Suit's best hope is a racist threat before November.

    Let's see which story wins.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. LLM from MD

    GOD in heaven, please protect Senator Obama and his family....

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. mayahh


    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    The dream was killed when they took out John and Bobby Kennedy, as well as MLK. I fear the hate mongers and the corrupt powers of big industry and right wing government are conspiring again.

    I don't believe in a protective guy with a beard up in the sky, but I hope Obama stays safe and strong in the disgusting and violent atmosphere the right wing and PUMA idiots are creating.

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Relle Boston

    Barack 08' some are scared of the first black president, but it is sad that people do not realize that he will represent us all.
    He is going to take America to a better place. Mccain/Bush are bad for the country and racism will keep us from moving ahead as we need to.
    Mccain will say anything even offer his wife up for the race. (come on people)

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Patty, Big Bear, CA

    I must, unfortunatly, agree with some of these posters, that this is not the first and most likely won't be the last...sorry to say....I'm sure Obama and his people are very aware of the extra caution they must maintain....and those that want to point the finger at Hillary at this time are so transparent...please!! Gotta give credence to the remarks about Jesse, tho.....hmmmm....

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. seeing the truth

    now i wonder how this will play with all of the Obama only plays the race card, there is no such thing as racism, black people are victims people out there...prayers for those people and for Obama

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Jackie from Minneapolis

    Sick, sick people living among us.

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Another Canadian

    I Pray that all Americans can learn to accept people of all nations, creed, colour and race.

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Michael Sarvis

    Of course this sort of thing is crazy- lock the guy up. I am NO Obama supporter- but this has no place in American politics. Let Obama win/lose the election based on his stand on the issues-not how fast he can duck & run for cover.
    I just wish I knew how he stood on any issue of substance.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Jack

    Doesn't the Constitution protect his right to say these things?

    If I wanted to live in a country where I couldn't speak my mind, I'd move to China.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Not Surprised

    No matter how much we want to be color blind, there are always people who are plagued by their fears and insecurities.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. tim, mississippi

    listen up, people.

    remember this: the day i stop coming to blog here is the day the thugs have finally caught up to me.

    do your very best in hiding your real identity and protecting your livelihood and stuf.

    and this is not a joke.

    be smart and go "cuil". forget google when you need protection.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. steve

    I am not sure that this is any different than all those who call for George bushes head on a plate, many have publically threatened the current President, but no arrests. Why is Sen. Obama and more important?

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Alex in MA

    Stay safe Obama! Thank God for our wonderful secret service folks!

    God bless the USA.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    Imperative that VPs be someone the people would vote in.

    Obama will always have nutcases like this threatening him. Read some of the PUMA blogs.

    McCain is old and provokes anti-war people to do the same and threaten him.

    I fear we will end up with a VP appointment that no one would vote for, then we'll be stuck with that person later.

    August 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Old My!!!

    To Re -- I hope Obama appreciates his protection
    What kind of statement is That !! Only Lisa would say something like That.....Of course he appreciates his protection and he trust in GOD

    May God Bless and Keep you Senator Obama

    August 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. tracy

    I hope nothing happens to him , but the powers that control the status quo might think otherwise...

    August 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Niki, Long Beach, CA

    This guy also talked about doing the same thing to President Bush–it's not a color/race thing you idiots!!

    August 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Rick B Tampa Bay

    What did Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Benazir Bhutto all have in common with Barack Obama?

    They all spoke about change and working together for the good of ALL people.

    I wake up everyday and pray for Barack Obama.

    OBAMA 08

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Beverly, NYC

    Keep that sense of humor dirtbag you'll need it in prison. Hope the other inmates think you're funny.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    You would think that the great "Messiah" that Brobama has been made to be could protect himself from a mere mortal!

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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