A Maryland man faces federal charges for threatening former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in a letter he left outside a home with Biden/Harris signs in the yard, prosecutors say.
James Dale Reed, 42, of Frederick, was charged with threatening the Democratic candidates, the Justice Department said Wednesday. He was allegedly caught on a doorbell camera leaving a letter on a home's doorstep in Frederick early Oct. 4.
“Warning!!!” it said in large, red letters.
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“This is a warning to anyone reading this letter [sic] if you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted. We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns,” the letter read in part.
The letter-writer then threatened to capture, assault and execute the candidates.
Online court records did not list an attorney representing Reed in the federal case. A docket entry in the state case against Reed indicates he waived his right to have a lawyer represent him during his initial appearance in Frederick District Court last week.
Someone who recognized the man on the doorbell camera contacted authorities.
“We take these types of threats extremely seriously. Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them,” United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur said in a statement.
Reed was interviewed at his home on Oct. 13 and denied leaving the letter or being the person shown on camera, prosecutors said. Two days later, he admitted to it and was arrested, they said.
Reed told investigators he was “upset at the political situation” when he wrote the threatening letter, a U.S. Secret Service agent said in an affidavit.
“He then explained his involvement to the agents by saying that ‘This will happen’ (referring to individuals making threatening comments) due to the political climate,” the Secret Service agent wrote.
The agent noted that Reed was “known to” the Secret Service for making a threatening statement against an unidentified person under the agency's protection in 2014.
Reed is in state custody and is set to appear in federal court. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.