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1528. Threats Against The President And Successors To The Presidency; Against Former Presidents; And Certain Other Secret Service Protectees

Several decisions have cast light on the scope of 18 U.S.C. §  871 and the requisite intent which must be proved in prosecutions thereunder. Proof that threatening words were uttered in a context such that a reasonable person would interpret them as mere political hyperbole, idle talk, or jest indicates that the words do not constitute a threat within the scope of the statute. However, it is the view of the Department that an actual intent to carry out a threat is not a requisite to violation of the statute.

[cited in USAM 9-65.200]

Updated December 7, 2018