Joseph Lynn Pickett of Edwardsville, Ill has been charged with threatening the life of President Donald Trump. Pickett posted several times on Facebook that he wanted to and would gladly assassinate President Trump. He dared the Secret Service to do something about it. Pickett’s former coworkers were more than happy to notify the SS of Pickett’s intentions. Judging by his attitude, he probably has no friends outside of Maxine Waters.
Here are a couple of samples of his deranged comments.
“Honestly am I really going to have to kill trump before our fine Government … actually takes me into custody for threatening to assassinate President Donald Trump?”
“Before I die I want our president and congress to sign a treaty to never side with Russia or any enemy of the United States of America! If one will then that person deserves to be shot,” his post read. “Guess what Trump? I’m waiting for the right time…and I KNOW your (sic) Putin’s (expletive)! The secret service now has a heads up as to my plan to assassinate Trump…let’s see if they act.”
How serious is it to threaten the life of a sitting president? Interestingly enough, you can get five years for threatening a president but if you threaten a federal officer or a federal judge is 10 years or double that of threatening a president. This could be because most could not even get close enough to the president to kill him but judges and law enforcement officers are easier game.
Threatening the President of the United States is a class E felony under United States Code Title 18, Section 871. The offense is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a $250,000 maximum fine, a $100 special assessment, and 3 years of supervised release. Internet restrictions such as a prohibition on access to email have been imposed on offenders who made their threats by computer. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines set a base offense level of 12 for sending threatening communication, but when a threat to the President is involved, a 6-level “official victim” enhancement applies. Moreover, “an upward departure may be warranted due to the potential disruption of the governmental function.” Further enhancements can apply if the offender evidenced an intent to carry out the threat (6-level enhancement); made more than two threats (2-level enhancement); caused substantial disruption of public, governmental, or business functions or services (4-level enhancement); or created a substantial risk of inciting others to harm federal officials (2-level enhancement). Since each 6-level increase approximately doubles the Guidelines sentencing range, it is not particularly rare for an offender who threatens the President to receive a sentence at or near the maximum, especially if he has a criminal history and/or does not qualify for a reduction for acceptance of responsibility. There is a 4-level decrease available for a threat involving a “single instance evidencing little or no deliberation”, which would usually apply to spur-of-the-moment verbal threats. The maximum penalty for threatening a United States judge or a Federal law enforcement officer is 10 years imprisonment — double the maximum penalty for threatening the President.
U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Vincent Pescitelli says in a criminal complaint that Pickett “did knowingly and willfully make a threat to take the life of, to kidnap, and to inflict bodily harm”