BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Frederick man pleaded guilty to a federal charge after he threatened then Vice President Joe Biden, then-Senator Kamala Harris and their supporters during the 2020 presidential campaign.
James Dale Reed, 42, pleaded guilty to a charge of threats to a major candidate for President or Vice President. He was already convicted of the related state charge of voter intimidation in Frederick County Circuit Court.READ MORE: Maryland Man James Reed Charged With Threatening To Kidnap Former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris In Letter Left At Frederick Home
The federal complaint was filed against Reed on October 21, 2020.
According to the guilty plea, Reed left a threatening letter at a Frederick home with Biden/Harris signs in their yard in the early morning hours of October 4, 2020. The letter threatened Biden and Harris with physical harm and execution.
“If you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted,” the letter stated. “We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns. We are the ones your children have nightmares about…”
Reed was seen on a doorbell camera leaving the letter.
“Making threats against candidates and fellow citizens for their political beliefs undermines our democracy and will not be tolerated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “This case reflects our commitment to holding accountable anyone who seeks to intimidate, harass or dissuade Americans from exercising their right to vote and to peacefully support the candidate of their choice.”READ MORE: Maryland Man James Reed Faces Federal Indictment For Threatening To Kidnap Former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris In Letter Left At Frederick Home
Investigators learned that Reed had registered firearms, including an M4/AR-15 and a 9mm pistol. Authorities reached out to Reed on October 15, 2020 to request elimination palm prints and a handwriting sample. Reed complied.
Reed later admitted to police that he wrote the letter and delivered it to the first house where he saw multiple Democratic signs because he was upset about the political situation.
Law enforcement obtained a Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) to seize Reed’s firearms based on the voter intimidation and threats of mass violence and a search warrant was executed on his home.
In the back room of the home, authorities found, “U.S. Army paraphernalia, including many pairs of military-issue uniforms, helmets, plate carriers, and bags/packs. Two grenades without blast caps were also found. The room resembled a U.S. military outpost bunker containing a voluminous supply of maps, books, and documents related to military strategy and history. Law enforcement seized: a Smith & Wesson 9VE handgun; a JC Higgins 20-12 Gauge rifle; a .223 caliber Bushmaster XM15-E25; a Hi Point 995 handgun; and approximately eight ammunition cans with 5.56 and 9mm ammunition and AR-15 carbine magazines. In addition, a military-style “go-bag” was seized along with the jacket Reed wore when he delivered the threatening letter.”
As a part of his plea agreement, Reed agreed to waive his interest in the firearms and ammunition. He faces a maximum of five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Reed on July 27 2021 at 4:00 p.m.