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Man with rifle, machete arrested for threatening ex-President Bush

George W. Bush

(Reuters) - A New York man sitting in a car that had a loaded rifle, machete and a container of gasoline was charged on Friday with threatening to kill George W. Bush after professing a romantic interest in the former president's oldest daughter, prosecutors said.

Benjamin Smith, 44, of Pittsford in upstate New York was arrested in Manhattan by the U.S. Secret Service, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

"Bush will get his," Smith screamed as he was taken into custody, according to the complaint. Later, when asked about his marital status, he told agents he was divorced and "working on a relationship with Barbara Bush."

At a preliminary hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Griswold told U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman the government believes Smith was referring to the former president's daughter and not Bush's mother, who shares the same name.

It is a crime under federal law to threaten a current or former president.

On Thursday, the man's mother called police to report she had found a threatening note in the home she shares with her son and that a rifle was also missing, the complaint said.

"I'm going to work for George W. Bush and the Pentagon," the note said, according to the government. "I have to slay a dragon and then Barbara Bush is mine."

The Secret Service tracked him using his cell phone to Manhattan, where they arrested him early Friday morning. It was not clear why Smith went to New York City or where the former president and his family were at the time.

Smith's defense lawyer, Peggy Cross-Goldenberg, said the note and Smith's outbursts did not constitute a "true threat."

The judge also conceded it was "unclear" a jury would find Smith guilty.

"Admittedly, there is some inconsistency in the notion that the way to win Barbara Bush's affections is to kill her father," Pitman said.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Edith Honan and Lisa Shumaker)

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airamrka February 01 2014 at 9:27 PM

As any true American patriot would do, I would be willing to lay down my life to protect George W but the same is true of my willingness to protect President Obama. Dislike either if you would but honor the office.

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2 replies
FRED airamrka February 01 2014 at 9:37 PM

I might take a bullet for President Bush, not so likely for BO!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
henry_bevis airamrka February 01 2014 at 9:38 PM

I feel exactly the same way.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
memory7152 February 02 2014 at 9:11 AM

A "bird" in the hand is worth two in the Bush !

Flag Reply +1 rate up
grannycrtb February 02 2014 at 9:11 AM

He must have got lost in a Dungeons and Dragons maze.

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jsim6974 February 01 2014 at 10:01 PM

"An armed crazy guy..." Most headlines now start with those 4 words.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
sulandherb February 01 2014 at 10:20 PM

Koo Koo

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jojo61jo February 01 2014 at 10:20 PM

The world is nuts people want to kill each other off , there is not stopping this stupid stuff or angery people . way I see it eye for an eye you want to be stupid and go try to kill some one you should be brought down same way no mercy .

Flag Reply +4 rate up
merrydolls February 02 2014 at 8:57 AM

we sure do have a lot of nutty people in this world.. and that is what makes it so dangerous now.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Betty Boop February 02 2014 at 8:56 AM

idiot in this world

Flag Reply +3 rate up
trekkienut February 01 2014 at 10:39 PM

Oh dear someone left the door to the nuthouse unlocked again :l

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
fromneweng trekkienut February 01 2014 at 10:55 PM

LOL! Very Good!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
DWheatley83 trekkienut February 01 2014 at 11:38 PM

ya...it is called the USA

Flag Reply 0 rate up
trip951 February 01 2014 at 7:24 PM

The Dude is sick and he needs psychiatric treatment.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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