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10 yrs jail to man who threatened to kill Obama

An Arkansas man was today sentenced to 10 years in imprisonment for threatening to kill dozens of African-Americans including the then Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2010 13:53 IST

An Arkansas man was on Friday sentenced to 10 years in imprisonment for threatening to kill dozens of African-Americans including the then Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Paul Schlesselman was sentenced after being convicted on federal charges for conspiring to murder dozens of African-Americans, including then Senator Barack Obama, because of their race, the Justice Department said.

"Our nation has made great progress in advancing civil rights, but this unthinkable conspiracy is a reminder that hate-fueled violence continues to be a very real problem in so many communities," said Thomas E Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

"Tragedy was averted thanks to the capable work of the Crockett County Sheriff's Department and their willingness to work with the ATF, the Secret Service and the FBI," he said.

On January 14, 2010, Schlesselman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon a presidential candidate, and one count of possessing a firearm.

US District Judge J Daniel Breen sentenced Schlesselman to 10 years in prison and three years supervised release.

A resident of Arkansas, Schlesselman admitted that he conspired to murder several people, with a focus on targeting African-Americans.

He stated that beginning on or about September 1, 2008, and continuing until October 22, 2008, he conspired to transport firearms and ammunition in interstate commerce, steal firearms from a licensed firearm dealer and transport in interstate commerce a short-barreled shotgun, all for the purpose of committing murders, robberies and burglaries.

Schlesselman acknowledged that he intended to culminate his racially-targeted killing spree by assassinating then-Senator Obama; the Justice Department said.