A Frederick man who threatened President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their supporters before last year’s election pleaded guilty in federal court this week.
James Dale Reed, 42, faces up to five years in prison after federal prosecutors said that in early October he left a letter threatening physical harm, including beating “Grandpa Biden,” raping Harris and targeting Democrats’ supporters, according to court documents and the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“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 a statement Tuesday. “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 left a letter on the doorstep of a Frederick home where several signs in the yard expressed support for Biden, according to the plea agreement. A door camera captured Reed leaving the letter at the home in the early morning of October 4.
The letter also threatened that “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.”
On October 15, authorities requested and received Reed’s palm prints and a handwriting sample, court records show. He was also interviewed by investigators, where he admitted that he wrote the letter and delivered it to the first house he saw that had multiple Democratic political signs.
Authorities filed for an Extreme Risk Protective Order based on a misdemeanor charges of voter intimidation and threats of mass violence, records show, and seized Reed’s firearms, including an M4/AR-15 and a 9mm pistol.
During a search of Reed’s home, law enforcement found a “back room” full of U.S. Army paraphernalia, including “uniforms, helmets, plate carriers, and bags/packs,” according to federal prosecutors. Two grenades without blast caps were also found, along with eight ammunition cans and an AR-15 carbine magazines, prosecutors said.
Reed was previously convicted of related state charges in Frederick County.
His sentencing in federal court is scheduled for July 27. Reed’s attorney did not respond for a request for comment Tuesday.