A forty-four year old New York man was arrested after threatening the life of former President George W. Bush, motivated by what appears to be a romantic interest in the daughter of the President, Barbara Bush. According to the LA Times, George Ogilvie, a spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service, stated that officials had arrested New York’s Benjamin Smith on Friday January 31 on grounds of violating U.S. Code Title 18, Section 879. This means that the New York man had threatened a former president or “certain persons”. That certain person is presumed at this time to be his daughter, Barbara Bush.
Smith was a resident of Pittsford, in upstate New York. According to reports, the man was found with a machete, a loaded rifle, ammunition, and a container full of gasoline in his car at the time of arrest. Upon being taken into custody, Smith apparently told officials that he was divorced and currently working on a relationship with Barbara Bush. He stated that George W. Bush would “get his.” The man was first reported to officials on Thursday January 30 by his mother after she found a note in their shared residence that allegedly threatened the president.
According to ABC News, the note explained that Smith had intended on going to work with the former President, and the pentagon, as well. He allegedly wrote that he had to “slay a dragon” and then Barbara Bush was going to be his. After Smith’s mother notified police, she also informed them that a rifle had been missing from their home. The secret service was then able to track Smith by cell phone, and found him later Friday on Midtown Street Manhattan. He was taken into police custody at 6 a.m. that Friday morning.
ABC News reported that after Smith was taken into custody, he appeared to be fixated upon the former president’s daughter, Barbara Bush. Upon being asked what his current marital status was, he replied that he had been divorced and was currently seeing no one. However, he did state that he was in pursuit of a relationship with Barbara Bush. Andrea Grisworld, assistant U.S. attorney told Judge Henry Pitman, a U.S. magistrate, that she believed Smith to be obsessed with the former president’s daughter and had no doubt that he was referring to the former first ladies daughter rather than to the first lady herself. This statement came from Grisworld after Smith’s hearing on Friday, January 31. It remains to be seen whether this New York Man would be found guilty by a jury for threatening George W. Bush or not.
According to CNN News, there was a federal court complaint that was made which stated that Smith had expressed his intentions to kill, kidnap, and inflict some type of bodily harm on president Bush. At this time, Peggy Cross-Goldenberg, who is Smith’s defense lawyer, has yet to disclose whether or not Smith was still within police custody as of Saturday.
One thing, however, is certain in this scenario. Any threat to any president of the United States, current or former, is considered a federal crime. This New York man is likely to face some type of federal charges for his actions, but the exact charges are yet to be declared. At this time, it appears there is no immediate threat to George W. Bush, who does not currently reside in New York, and who was not in the state when the arrest was made.
By Sarah Widger