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. arc, Lugano CH

    This article brings into memory the coy smirk on Hillary's face when she proclaimed that she would win the nomination through her Robert Kennedy Theory.

    Hillary is as disgusting as the now detained individual who threatened the life of the next President of the United States.

    Hillary knew exactly what she was saying. And do did her supporters.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. How does CNN determine who gets posted?

    This has Clinton written all over it.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. maggie

    In the name of the status quo by the admin in power and the power of the almighty dollar profit, those elite few that have most of the wealth and power in this country can be expected to stoop to anything to keep it!

    August 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. halle

    Very sad and not funny at all.

    August 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Natalie in SC

    The 1st and certainly not the last. God please protect Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. This almost brought tears to my eyes. How in the world could people be so hateful? What a disgrace!

    OBAMA '08!

    August 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. malik

    i despise the arrogance of this country

    August 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    Not funny Mr. Giesel.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. bridgette

    I really don't believe Hilary was behind this. I think this is a guy who thought it was funny too say that and is probably regretting that he said it. I also agree with the person that made the comment about Jesse Jackson. I think we should all pray for Obama & McCain. I am a supporter of Obama, but, I would not want harm to come too niether of the candidates. I think it is time for everyone too take a deep breath on the politics.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. JB, Nashville, TN

    Sad. I fear in the coming months we're about to find out what a divided and racist nation we truly are. I hope I'm wrong.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Donna from Colorado Springs

    This is a fear that I've had since he started his run for the white house. You would think that in this time and place, that racism towards black would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, there is still a segment of the population who are ignorant, and have violent natures and it doesn't take much to set them off. It's a sad statement that this country hasn't grown up as much as it thinks it has.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Christopher G

    Another example of our dumb world

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Melissa, Portland, OR

    I'd like to ask that everyone please stop clinging to negativity, and start embracing positive thoughts. We each have way more power than we realize. Just give it a try.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Sten, CA

    The republicans planted him out there. If he did it then McCain will pardon him.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. JD

    Lord Please protect Senator Obama and his family.

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. goodtimepolitics

    Maybe Obama needs to hire the Blackwater security company, oh but wait a minute the democrats talked bad about Blackwater on the job they were doing in Iraq, never lost a person but still the democrats were against them! Oh Well!

    August 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Texas Trail Dog!


    August 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Phil in KC

    Probably just some redneck shooting off his mouth trying to look big in front of an audience.
    But, as noted before, it won't be the last time. And, I suspect, others will be far more serious.

    August 7, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Intelligence is ruling the world and ignorance is bearing the burden

    This goes to show how sick our country has become. Threating someone's life is no joke. If someone placed a empty revolver to your head and squeezed the trigger no one would find that funny. That goes to all the people who stated that Obama can't take a joke.

    August 7, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Mike Dallas

    The secret service is correct to project a zero tolerance for this type of incident, regardless of the candidate implicated.

    August 7, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Do we really want McJEALOUS, Mc Sane or John McCane????

    Father God, I ask you that you for us for our sins and to protect Obama and his family.


    August 7, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. voter

    I want to know why he would say such things?

    People really look to guns for the wrong reasons. They're to accessible. School shootings, drive bys, bystanders... my close friend is so afraid of "people" he always has a gun on him and is always "looking out". Seriously, people need to CALM DOWN!!

    August 7, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. EMJ

    Somehow, someway, we all know this is Obama's fault like EVERYTHING else. I guess this is another example of too much press coverage of Obama which of course is his fault as well.
    Bad Obama! Bad!

    August 7, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Sara

    I figured some idiot would do this sooner or later. America will never change, their will always be racist morons.

    August 7, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Mike in Baltimore

    Nova from NV,

    Please define the word "elitist". I bet you can't define it cogently and correctly because you have no idea what it actually means.

    To the Secret Service – Do your best to protect all of the people in your charge.

    August 7, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Haters

    to Matt,

    Good point!

    August 7, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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