A Frederick man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to threatening then-candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris while they were running for office last fall.
James Dale Reed, 42, through a plea agreement, admitted to threatening the candidates for president and vice president, according to a Department of Justice news release. He faces a sentence of up to five years in federal prison. Sentencing is set for July 27.
Court documents show Reed left a letter threatening Biden and Harris outside a Frederick residence that was found on Oct. 4, 2020. A doorbell camera captured the incident.
“Making threats against candidates and fellow citizens for their political beliefs undermines our democracy and will not be tolerated,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner said in the news release. “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.”
Reed's defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The letter threatened bodily harm and execution toward Biden and Harris. The letter also stated, in part, “ … 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. We are the ones your children have nightmares about ... ”
In a recorded interview with investigators, Reed admitted to writing the letter and delivering it to the "first house he saw that had multiple Democratic political signs because he was upset at the political situation," the DOJ release reads.
Locally, Reed was charged and convicted of voter intimidation in Frederick County Circuit Court Feb. 24 for the threatening letter. He was sentenced to two years in prison, suspending all but time served (132 days). He was ordered to serve three years of supervised probation.
In the federal case, investigators learned Reed had registered firearms, including an M4/AR-15 and a 9mm pistol, according to the DOJ. Law enforcement obtained an "Extreme Risk Protective Order" to seize his firearms and found additional firearms within his house. In a room resembling a "U.S. military outpost bunker," authorities reportedly discovered two grenades without blast caps, 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, among other military paraphernalia, the DOJ release states.
Reed agreed to "waive his interest in the firearms and ammunition" as part of his plea agreement, according to the release.