Maine man pleads not guilty to threatening Obama

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 2:48 PM
Maine man pleads not guilty to threatening Obama

(Reuters) - A Maine man convicted of threatening the state's governor has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he threatened to kill President Barack Obama in a letter sent from prison last year, his attorney said on Tuesday.

Leroy Dunn, 30, of Hampden wrote in a letter to Obama last April that he planned to kill the president and "make your wife a widow," said Dunn's attorney, Stephen Smith.

The letter was sent from a prison in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, where Dunn was serving a three-year sentence on drug charges and for threatening Maine Governor Paul LePage in a separate letter, he said.

Smith said his client, who is more than 7 feet tall, suffers from "significant mental health issues" as well as from Marfan syndrome, an inherited tissue disorder whose sufferers are prone to heart problems and are typically unusually tall.

"It's our contention that the issues with President Obama resulted from some medication changes as opposed to any personal animus," he said, adding that Dunn had been in and out of prison his entire life. "We're having him evaluated by a private psychologist."

Dunn entered the plea on Monday in federal court in Bangor. He faces one count of threatening the president, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)