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Maryland man pleads guilty to threatening Biden, Harris as candidates

Maryland man pleads guilty to threatening Biden, Harris as candidates

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BALTIMORE — A Maryland man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to threatening now-President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris before last year’s election.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced in a news release that James Reed, 42, of Frederick pleaded guilty to the federal charge of threats to a major candidate for president or vice president. He was convicted of related state charges.

On Oct. 4, a door camera at a Frederick home with signs supporting Biden caught Reed leaving a letter threatening the candidates with physical harm and execution, according to his plea. The letter threatened violence against Democrats and said that “Grandpa Biden” and Harris would both be attacked and executed, according to a Secret Service agent’s affidavit. The letter also stated that the candidates’ supporters would be targeted.

“We are the ones with those scary guns,” the letter read. “We are the ones your children have nightmares about …”

Investigators learned that Reed had firearms registered to him and requested palm prints and a more extensive handwriting sample on Oct. 15. Reed complied with both requests. In an interview, Reed admitted that he wrote the letter and delivered it to the first house he saw that had multiple Democratic political signs because he was upset at the political situation.

Law enforcement obtained an emergency order to seize Reed’s firearms based on misdemeanor charges of voter intimidation and threats of mass violence. They seized several firearms, ammunition, a military-style “go-bag” and the jacket Reed wore when he delivered the threatening letter.

As part of his plea agreement, Reed agreed to waive his interest in the firearms and ammunition.

Reed faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing July 27. His attorney did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the plea.

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