Judge refuses to dismiss charge against Barack Obama assassination plotter

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A federal judge refused to dismiss a charge against an Arkansas man accused of plotting to assassinate Barack Obama.

Paul Schlesselman, 18, argued the threats against Obama were not a "true threat" under the law because they were made during questioning by law enforcement officials while he was in custody, and he could not have carried them out.

Judge J. Daniel Breen rejected the argument, claiming he could not go beyond the facts outlined in the indictment. "Due to the limited information available to the court, the bulk of the defendant's argument is unsupported by applicable facts," Breen wrote in a statement.

A photo of Paul Schlesselman from his MySpace profile.

Schlesselman, of West Helena, and Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee, are accused of plotting to kill dozens of black people during a murder spree that would end with them attempting to assassinate Obama.

Schlesselman has also filed a motion to suppress evidence collected by police; a hearing on that motion is set to go before Breen on April 16. The court has already rejected a motion by Schlesselman and Cowart to dismiss the charges against them because the racial makeup of the grand jury was predominately African American.

The men have been charged with targeting members of a specific race, conspiracy to rob a federal firearms licensee and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.