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Clinton hostage suspect charged with 6 felony counts

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Suspect in hostage incident charged with kidnapping, fraudulent bomb threat
  • NEW: Leeland Eisenberg had past charges of rape, assault going back to 1978
  • Eisenberg, 46, complained about inability to get mental health treatment
  • Eisenberg accused of holding hostages at a Clinton campaign office Friday
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ROCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- The man accused of taking five hostages last week at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire was arraigned Monday on six state felony charges.

Leeland Eisenberg surrendered after taking hostages in a campaign office of Sen. Hillary Clinton, police said.

Leeland Eisenberg was charged with four counts of kidnapping, and single counts of criminal threatening and fraudulent use of a bomb-like device, according to Strafford County Attorney Janice Rundles.

Judge Daniel Cappiello ordered Eisenberg to have a mental health evaluation. Bail was set at $500,000 and the next court appearance was scheduled for December 10. Eisenberg is being held at Strafford County jail.

In asking for high bail, Rundles cited a list of prior charges against Eisenberg -- including rape, larceny and assault with a dangerous weapon -- that stretches back to 1978.

Authorities say Eisenberg walked into Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Friday afternoon with a bomb-like device strapped to his chest. It turned out to be road flares.

Five people inside the office at the time, including a small child, were eventually released unharmed. Three of them, including the child, came out during the standoff, and state police hostage negotiators were able to persuade the man to release the last of the hostages shortly after 6 p.m. Photo See photos of the hostage situation »

He emerged a short time later with his hands up and was taken into custody.

During the standoff, the hostage-taker had three conversations with CNN staffers in Washington and Atlanta, during which he said he had mental health problems and could not get the help he needed. Video Watch why Eisenberg went to the campaign office »

Benjamin Warren, Eisenberg's stepson, told CNN that Eisenberg was hoping the Democratic presidential contender could help him. Eisenberg had seen one of Clinton's campaign ads about how she helped an underinsured boy get a bone marrow transplant, Warren said.

Warren said his stepfather "needed help -- he couldn't get it."

The hostage-taker alleged that he had been unable to get help from Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester because he did not have insurance. The hospital subsequently issued a news release saying that "no one is ever denied treatment at our hospital because they don't have health insurance or the ability to pay for their care."

Eisenberg's public defender, Randy Hawkes, said Friday's incident was a "desperate plea" for help, and added that his client was "profoundly sorry for the trauma he caused to the campaign workers" and for disrupting Clinton's campaign.

Eisenberg alleged in a 2002 lawsuit against the Boston Archdiocese that a priest raped him.

The lawsuit says one week after the alleged rape, Eisenberg, then 21, tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Afterward, he went to a psychiatric facility for observation and treatment.

A legal source involved with the case told CNN that Eisenberg was addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Clinton, who was in Washington at the time of the hostage incident, traveled to New Hampshire on Friday night to meet with the former hostages and their families. At a news conference afterward, the senator from New York said her campaign had no previous contact with Eisenberg.


"It appears that he is someone who was in need of help and sought attention in absolutely the wrong way," she said.

Clinton resumed her campaign schedule in Iowa on Saturday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Ekin Middleton and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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