Obama threat suspect pleads not guilty

AP An airport security guard who was overheardsaying he'd "cut a hole in a fence to be able to shoot" BarackObama pleaded not guilty Thursday to making terroristic threatsagainst the president. John Brek

News 12 Staff

Oct 23, 2009, 2:19 AM

Updated 5,382 days ago

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AP An airport security guard who was overheardsaying he'd "cut a hole in a fence to be able to shoot" BarackObama pleaded not guilty Thursday to making terroristic threatsagainst the president. John Brek appeared via video feed from the Essex County Jail,where he has been held since his arrest Tuesday night. Clad in anorange prison jumpsuit, the 55-year-old Brek didn't speak duringthe hearing but had his plea entered by his attorney, MosesRambarran. Municipal Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez rejected the state's requestto raise Brek's bail to $500,000, and instead raised it from$100,000 to $200,000. Brek also pleaded not guilty to possession of hollow pointbullets, which is prohibited in New Jersey, and to receiving stolenproperty for allegedly having a stolen gun among the more than 40firearms recovered from his residence Tuesday. The bail on thosecharges remained at $20,000. "We really have to take these matters seriously," Velez-Lopezsaid. "He had a very real possibility of carrying out thosethreats. He would have been in close proximity to the president." Rambarran said his client "knows he has some serious challengesagainst him and knows he must go through legal channels to gethimself vindicated." He said Brek's arrest raises constitutional issues. "In the United States of America, we are allowed to makeoffensive, distasteful, repugnant statements," he said. "Theseare not prosecutable as a crime." An airline worker standing at a coffee cart at Newark LibertyInternational Airport on Tuesday afternoon heard Brek saying hewould "cut a hole in a fence to be able to shoot" Obama,according to the arrest warrant. Obama arrived in Newark late Wednesday afternoon to appear at acampaign rally for Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Brek is employed by a private security firm. Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow said no weapons were found inthe area where he worked. She did not comment on whetherinvestigators found the hole in the fence that Brek referenced, butsaid Brek's comments were overheard "in the vicinity" of an areawhere the presidential entourage was to pass through the next day.


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