A Maryland man has been convicted of voter intimidation for threatening a Frederick household displaying yard signs backing then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.
Frederick District Court Judge Eric W. Schaffer sentenced James. D. Reed, 42, of Frederick, to two years in prison Wednesday, but suspended the sentence, except the 132 days Reed already served. Reed must complete three years of supervised probation.
Reed was charged with one count of threatening mass violence and one count of voter intimidation after prosecutors accused him of depositing a threatening letter in the mailbox of a home on Kline Boulevard in Frederick.
The contents of the note revealed Reed targeted the home “due to several political signs displayed on their property,” prosecutors said, in a news release.
In addition to threats of violence against Biden and Harris, the letter threatened former Rep. Gabby Giffords — an outspoken gun control advocate who survived a mass shooting and assassination attempt in Jan. 2011.
Reed wrote that Biden-Harris supporters would be “targeted” and that he had compiled a list of addresses of residents with signs supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.
“In the rendering of his verdict, Judge Schaffer stated that the Maryland statute requires a minimum of five people be threatened to constitute a threat of mass violence,” State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in reaction to the ruling.
“We respect his interpretation of the law, but believe that the letter clearly represented a serious threat of political violence against a larger group of people.”