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Judge frees ex-airport guard accused of Obama threats

From Chris Kokenes, CNN
A Newark airport security guard was accused of making threats against President Obama in October.
A Newark airport security guard was accused of making threats against President Obama in October.
  • Former New Jersey airport guard was accused of threatening president in October
  • Obama was in New Jersey for governor's campaign rally
  • After psychiatric evaluation, judge determined that suspect was not a threat
  • Former guard pleaded guilty to lesser charges, was released after 29 days in jail

(CNN) -- A former security guard at a New Jersey airport who was accused of making threats against the president is expected to be released from jail Thursday after a judge determined that he is not a threat to himself or others, the prosecutor's office said.

John Brek, 55, of Linden, New Jersey, appeared Thursday morning before Judge Robert Gardner. After reviewing Brek's psychiatric evaluation, Gardner sentenced him to the 29 days he has served in jail since his arrest in October, a spokesman for the Essex County prosecutor's office said.

Brek initially was charged with making terroristic threats in connection with remarks he is said to have made about President Obama. He denied making any threats, and the judge ultimately accepted a plea deal under which Brek pleaded guilty to two lesser counts.

Sentencing was delayed pending the psychiatric evaluation. After looking at that evaluation, Gardner concluded that Brek is not a threat to anyone.

The arrest came one day before Obama's scheduled appearance at a campaign rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Brek is a gun collector and hunter, and a search of his home and a friend's home last month turned up 70 firearms registered to him, all of which are legally owned, authorities said. When he is released from jail, he can submit an application to the court to have the confiscated weapons returned.

At the time of his arrest, Brek worked for a private security firm at Newark Liberty International Airport. He is no longer employed by the firm, FJC Security.

His attorney, Moses Rambarran, said he plans to pursue legal means of getting Brek's job back.

"While the protection of the president of the United States is of paramount concern, the constitutional rights of American citizens cannot be violated in that very important effort," Rambarran said. "And in this case, John Brek's constitutional rights of free speech and the right to bear arms were, in fact, violated. He should have never been arrested."