January 14th, 2010
07:16 PM ET
10 years ago

Man pleads guilty to threatening to kill candidate Obama

Washington (CNN) - An Arkansas man has pleaded guilty to plotting to kill several African-Americans in 2008 including then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Paul Schlesselman of West Helena, Arkansas, faces 10 years in prison under a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors in Tennessee.

Federal officials in Washington said Schlesselman had threatened to kill then-Sen. Obama on October 23, 2008, shortly before the presidential election. He also planned to "murder dozens of people with a focus on murdering African-Americans" the Justice Department said.

"Despite great civil rights progress, hate-fueled violence remains all too common in our country, as illustrated by this unthinkable conspiracy," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez in a statement issued by his Justice Department office.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ItIsMe

    Funny how GOPers love to run from the racists and racist sentiments in their party, hunh???

    January 14, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Independent

    10 years? That's it? Pathetic system of justice.

    January 14, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. Mandi

    I've been to a few forums on the internet over the last year. Many are filled with hate, rage and racism. Why is the country so fearful of change? Well, here is one prime example of why it is difficult to progress. The kind of rage and racism that fueled this man is everywhere. Ten years is not enough. What I would like to know is if others conspired or cheered him on. This seems to be the way things operate when there are groups sharing a common goal. In one forum I was recently a part of an attorney and operations director for a major company cheered on a woman making racist comments and attacks while those with opposing views urged her to stop. She didn't and went too far. I don't know Mr. Schlesselman and do not need to know him...I just thank God that there is an example out there now. Use the law...but the hatred and violence needs to stop and many people need to be held accountable.

    January 14, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Katie B in NC

    My sincere thanks go out to everyone who had a hand in stopping this idiot.

    January 14, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. NC

    Many Thanks to the Justice Department for prosecuting this racist. I hope this evil hateful racist fool serves every day of the 10 years in federal prison. Americans are better off with people like this locked away.

    January 14, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Debbie

    This is a hoot because stats prove African-American's have a higher % in prison. Wonder how Schlesselman will get along with his new roomates!?!

    January 14, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Right wing "looser"

    He's now Chief Advisor to the Huckabee 2012 campaign.

    January 14, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. m smith

    Ah the Christian south at it's best. Know many people in Arkansas and their thinking has not changed sinc the civil war. And we see it still today in our tea baggers and repo southerners. Listen to Rush and Beck to hear how they stir them up. The repo party plays to this audience. Untill they come out against it we will have more of these nut jobs not less.

    January 14, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Kathy, MA

    I hope they throw the book at him and any other teabagger who thinks he or she can take the law into their own hands. Attacking a president is a federal offense and this incident should be treated as such.

    January 14, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. Justjean

    Amazing how hate can consume some people and they never see the Devil laughing. Most of us were SO frustrated with Bush, but never ever considered killing him, no matter what evil was perpetuated or corruption initiated under his watch. It IS possible to protest and not hate.

    January 14, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Luke Biere

    This jerk is jewish atleast his last name suggest that, the jews I know would never plan to harm blacks bc they share similar history of oppression, but you know.....he will get justice in prison anyway, I hope he shares a room with black inmates, the same ppl he planned to murder and let's see if he makes it out alive, jerk.

    January 14, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Margaret, SD

    Throw the book at this animal. He's a rabid-wacho-crazy-birther,deather, right wing bozo, who thinks he can take the law into his own hands.

    January 14, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. sara

    Good, and many prosecution should follow.

    January 14, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. malclave

    10 years seems a bit light to me.

    January 14, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    Paul Schlesselmen has just become the poster boy for the radical far-right: i.e. the birthers, the teabaggers, the FAUX "News" faithful, the dittoheads, etc.

    January 14, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. Tony in Maine

    Half the Teabaggers could end up n the slammer were there any consistency.

    January 14, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |