Man charged over note threatening to kill Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on live TV

Associated Press
·2-min read

A man has been charged with making death threats against presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate US Senator Kamala Harris in a letter saying the pair would be attacked and executed.

James Dale Reed, 42, from the US state of Maryland, told investigators that he was “upset at the political situation” when he wrote the threatening letter, a US Secret Service agent said in an affidavit.

The handwritten note said Biden and Harris would be captured, assaulted and killed on national television.

The letter was left on the doorstep of a neighbour who had yard signs supporting the candidates.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee, left, and Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee, wear protective masks while holding hands outside the Chase Center during the Democratic National Convention in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. Biden accepted the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump, urging Americans in a prime-time address to vote for new national leadership that will overcome deep U.S. political divisions. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee, left, and Senator Kamala Harris were at the centre of the threats. Source: Getty

A door camera captured video of a person resembling Reed leaving the letter on his neighbour's doorstep early on the morning of October 4.

“We take these types of threats extremely seriously," US Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement.

“Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them.”

The letter threatened violence against Democrats and said that “Grandpa Biden” and Harris would both be attacked and executed, the Secret Service agent’s affidavit says.

An anonymous tip to police led to investigators to question Reed at his home last Tuesday, prosecutors said.

The US District Court's criminal complaint
The US District Court's criminal complaint

He initially denied leaving the letter but was arrested two days later after he admitted writing and delivering it to his neighbour, according to Hur's office.

“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.

The federal charge that he faces carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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