February 25, 2020
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Charges reduced in president threat

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN

MIAMI — A Maine man arrested in Miami for allegedly threatening former President George W. Bush and then-candidate Barack Obama has pleaded guilty on lesser weapons possession charges.

U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold will sentence Raymond Geisel, who is 23 or 24 years old, on July 7.

According to previous reports, Geisel grew up in Winterport, Maine, and attended high school at Hampden Academy. He has had charges against him in Maine, and in 2007 pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal threatening. As recently as November 2007 he listed his address as Hampden.

Prosecutors in Florida on Friday recommended he be sentenced to 10 months in jail, but Geisel could face up to 10 years on each count of possession of ammunition and firearms by someone who had been committed to a mental institution.

Geisel was institutionalized in Maine in 2003. Because of medical privacy laws, no details have been made public.

In exchange for the plea on Friday, prosecutor Ben Greenberg agreed to drop the charges that Geisel threatened assassination against Bush and Obama.

Geisel was arrested in August 2008 at a Miami hotel and later indicted on charges of threatening to assassinate Obama and Bush while attending a training course to become a bail bondsman.

According to a Secret Service affidavit, a fellow student overheard Geisel using a racist term to refer to Obama and adding, “If he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself.” Another person in the class quoted Geisel as saying he “hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president’s head.”

A search of Geisel’s hotel room and 1998 Ford Explorer — which was wired with flashing red and yellow emergency lights — uncovered a loaded 9 mm handgun, knives, a machete, dozens of rounds of ammunition, body armor and military-style fatigues. Geisel told the Secret Service all the items had a legitimate purpose, according to court documents.

He has been held without bail since his arrest.

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