Posted by Audiegrl
AP—A Northern California man remained in federal custody without bail Friday after being charged with sending racist, profanity-laced e-mail threatening to kill President Barack Obama and his family.
John Gimbel, 59, of Crescent City was arrested Oct. 6 by U.S. Secret Service officers and indicted two days before the president’s Thursday appearances at a pair of Democratic fundraisers in the city.
He is accused of sending the message to Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, a Louisville newspaper and about 70 other people on Sept. 28.
Gimbel is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Randall Davis, a defense lawyer assigned to serve as Gimbel’s co-counsel because Gimbel wants to represent himself, said he expects him to plead not guilty.
”He contends he didn’t violate the law” and only was exercising his free speech rights,” Davis said.
**44 Update by GeoT**
From The Eureka Times-Standard
After allegedly e-mailing an editor with NBC Universal twice in May 2007 about killing former President George W. Bush, the Secret Service located Gimbel, who told the service he was harmless and had no interest in assassinations. The Secret Service then contacted two of his sisters, one of whom said the siblings were estranged, but thought Gimbel had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and believed he was troubled after his military discharge.
According to the Veterans Service Office and Humboldt County Records Office, Gimbel was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1949. While he was a resident of Arcata, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Oakland in 1971. The private first class was honorably discharged for a physical disability at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco in 1973 after six months of foreign or sea service.
On Sept. 7, the Secret Service interviewed Gimbel at his home on Brevus Street in Crescent City, according to an affidavit in U.S. District Court. During the interview, Gimbel was reportedly verbally abusive to Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office deputies. He claimed he had a right to free speech when informed that his alleged threats were illegal, and said he’d defend his rights and his home, and if he “had to kill 18 deputies who tried to enter his home, then so be it.”
In the affidavit, Secret Service Special Agent Russell Miller asked the court to approve a “no-knock” arrest warrant, which would allow agents to enter Gimbel’s residence without warning. There was reason to believe Gimbel had firearms in the house, Miller wrote, and Gimbel had allegedly made threats against law enforcement. He also requested the complaint and associated documents be filed under seal so Gimbel would not discover them.
Gimbel was arrested in his home on Oct. 6 and taken into custody in the Humboldt County jail, a facility approved for holding federal prisoners. He is being held without bail on suspicion of threatening the president of the United States, threatening the president’s immediate family and making threats transmitted through interstate communication. The three charges, brought by a grand jury earlier this week, each carry maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
Read more from Northern California: (click here:)
TPM has received a copy of the indictment in United States of America vs. John Gimbel
The subject line of the email read:
Operation kill big-[epithet]-rig: kill the ‘president’ [epithet], then write ‘fed shit’ on his chest with a felt tip.
As TPM also notes:
That last clause appears to be a reference to the recent death of a Census Bureau worker, who was found in rural Kentucky with a rope around his neck and the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest, in what many have suggested was an act of anti-government violence.
In the body of the e-mail, as reproduced in the indictment, Gimbel, used a string of crude and racist epithets in additionally calling for the murders of Michelle Obama and the couple’s two children “in front of” the president.
You can read the rest of his sick rant here, if you can stomach it.
Gimbel’s Previous Legal History
According to reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle, this case, which was investigated by the Secret Service, is not the first time Gimbel has come under scrutiny for e-mail messages.
In April 2004, Gimbel was accused of complaining about a $5 parking ticket in an e-mail and threatening to deputize others to carry out his plans. His email is below:
“Just got a $5 parking ticket. The Crescent City piggy-wiggly that gave it to me left a little over-zealous. That’s a drag. I am hereby deputizing all the citizens of Crescent City to fix up some of the f*ck up piggos. Grab those hi-powered deer rifles, each and every, and get in groups of 50 and more and go breeze away to dust the skull of the policy chief.
Make an example of that scum. That should do it for awhile. However, if any other piggos down at the station give you crap on this or get in the way, then blow their skulls off, too..”
On April 8, 2004, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department arrested Gimbel and removed two computers and two handguns from his location. Gimbel was convicted of making the threats, but the conviction was overturned on appeal, court records show.
On January 8, 2007, Gimbel filed a lawsuit John Gimbel vs. State of California, et al. alleging federal claims for relief against Defendant for violation of his rights under the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The court dismissed the claim dismissed with prejudice”.
In another case, Gimbel allegedly harassed a Del Norte County sheriff’s deputy who cited him for having faulty brake lights and no proof of insurance.
Gimbel repeatedly left vulgar messages on the deputy’s voice mail, prompting the deputy to obtain a restraining order against him in 2006, authorities said.
In Gimbel vs. State of California et al, Gimbel attempted to sue for a Civil Rights violation, and asking for damages in the amount of $7000. On June 22, 2007, the Court granted a Motion to Dismiss. The Court’s Order included a detailed discussion of the pleadings and applicable law, and specifically allowed Gimbel 30 days to file an Amended Complaint properly alleging claims.
On July 12, 2007, Gimbel filed a 6-page document entitled “Amended Complaint.” The court documents explain why the case was dismissed with prejudice:
“The Court need not look past the first sentence of Gimbel’s “Amended Complaint” to see that it is nothing more than profanity-ridden drivel, replete with racial epithets directed at specific members of this Court, and should be dismissed with prejudice. Even if the “Amended Complaint” actually alleged a cognizable claim (which a cursory review of the document demonstrates that it does not), the Court is under no obligation to consider the merits of Gimbel’s calumnious screed, which is a stream-of- consciousness diatribe directed primarily at insulting the Court.”
John Vrieze, a Eureka attorney who represented Del Norte County in both cases, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “The guy has some type of obsessive disorder. … He’s become very fixated on his First Amendment rights, thinking that transcends all bounds and that you can say anything you want and that it’s protected speech. He probably could stand to benefit from some therapy.”