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Florida man pleads not guilty in Obama threat case

  • Story Highlights
  • Law enforcement official says suspect made threat during Florida seminar
  • Raymond Hunter Geisel pleads not guilty before federal magistrate
  • Another seminar classmate says Geisel also threatened President Bush
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A man who prosecutors said threatened to assassinate presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama pleaded not guilty Wednesday before a federal magistrate, officials said.

Raymond Hunter Geisel is accused of threatening Sen. Barack Obama in early August.

Raymond Hunter Geisel told classmates at a training seminar that he would kill Obama if Obama were elected president, according to a law enforcement official.

An affidavit filed by a Secret Service agent in U.S. District Court claims that 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."

The threats came in early August, 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.

Geisel is being held without bail.

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 the 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.

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