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Press Release

Cleveland man charged with threatening the President

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Cleveland man was charged in federal court with making threats against the President, said Acting U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon.

Jonathan W. Smead, 35, was arrested on a criminal complaint. He is detained and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vecchiarelli on March 9.

According to the complaint:

On Feb. 28 at approximately 10:16 CST, the U.S. Secret Service, Chicago Field Office received a call, which was forwarded to the Secret Service’s Cleveland Office. The caller stated “I want to kill President Obama.” The caller continued to speak about past assassins including John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. The caller then stated he “wants to kill Hillary Clinton.” The caller then identified himself as Jonathan Smead and provided is Social Security number, date of birth, and said he is living with his grandmother on Spring Road in Cleveland. Finally, Smead stated he “wants federal charges, not little state charges.”

Smead was interviewed on Feb. 29. He admitted to making the phone call and said he had been drinking alcohol prior to making the call. He said he does not wish harm on the President or Clinton. He stated he had recently been watching the television show “The West Wing” and he is very interested in past presidents, specifically Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. He stated he visited the Texas Book Depository years ago as a tourist. During a consensual search, agents located two books in Smead’s bedroom related to the Kennedy assassination.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the Cleveland Division of Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Filiatraut.

A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 3, 2016