Reed’s sentencing is slated for July 27 in the US District Court in Baltimore. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison on charges of threatening an important candidate for the office of president or vice-president.
“Threats against candidates and fellow citizens because of their political beliefs undermine our democracy and will not be tolerated,” said acting US attorney for the Maryland borough, Jonathan F. Lenzner, who announced the guilty plea. “This case reflects our commitment to holding accountable anyone who intends to intimidate, harass or deter Americans from exercising their right to vote and peacefully supporting the candidate of their choice.”
The announcement comes amid talks on the For the People Act, a bill that introduces penalties for intimidation in elections. Senate Republicans are expected to block the law later Tuesday. It also follows heated reactions from the Republican Party’s far-right – including the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol – to the 2020 elections that former President Donald Trump claims were stolen.
In an interview with law enforcement, Reed admitted writing the letter and said he took it to the first house he saw with several Democratic political signs, court files say. During a search of Reed’s house, a “back room” was found where he kept several handguns, a rifle, ammunition cans, grenades without detonators and U.S. Army paraphernalia such as military uniforms, the documents show.
“The room resembled a US military outpost bunker with an extensive supply of maps, books and documents on military strategy and history,” said a press release from the US attorney general.
Reed agreed to forego the firearms and ammunition as part of his deal with the prosecutor.
Prosecutors, who received charges against Reed in November last year for the threats, did not drop any charges in the plea deal. However, it is likely that Reed will be recognized under federal sentencing guidelines for taking responsibility in the case.