|Serious Threat to President Obama? Secret Service Investigates|
Serious Threat to President Obama? Secret Service Investigates
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Right-wing rock star Ted Nugent’s inflammatory comments about President Obama have triggered a Secret Service investigation into a potential threat against the president, increasing fears about the safety of the nation’s first Black chief executive.
Concern about the performer’s extremist remarks ratcheted up in the wake of the arrest of a 40-year-old Roanoke man on federal charges of threatening the president. A grand jury indicted Steven John Gurczynski for allegedly making threats against President Obama in November and December 2010.
Nugent, 63, meanwhile, is attracting attention for what the gun-loving guitarist told a National Rifle Association convention earlier this month.
“I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent told the audience, according to the Washington Post. But wait — there’s more: “Our president, and attorney general, our vice president, Hillary Clinton — they’re criminals,”
Nugent continued in a rant that was videotaped and has since been widely aired on cable and network news broadcasts.
“We’re Americans because we defied the king,” he added. “We are patriots; we are bravehearts. We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Just what did Nugent mean by those comments? That’s likely what Secret Service agents asked Nugent when they met with him last week. Agents will seek to find out whether Mr. Nugent’s comments rise to the level of a threat against the president.Federal law prohibits “anythreat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon” the president and successors to the presidency.
A conviction can result in fines and up to five years in prison. But do Nugent’s comments constitute a “threat”? Not if “a reasonable personwould interpret them as mere political hyperbole, idle talk or jest,” the Justice Department’s manual for federal prosecutors advises.
That’s probably why the aging rock ‘n’ roller is not shying away from his comments or the Secret Service investigation.
“They have a duty. I support them,” Nugent said on a talk radio show, according to Rolling Stone. “I’ve never threatened. I don’t waste breath threatening.”