New York Man Sentenced for Threatening Former President Obama and White House

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WASHINGTON – Jean-Paul Gamarra, 45, of Copiague, N.Y., was sentenced today on federal charges of threatening the President of the United States and the White House complex during an incident in March 2017, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Matthew R. Stohler, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.

Gamarra was found guilty on May 27, 2021, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, of one count each of threats to the President and threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive. He was sentenced by the Honorable John D. Bates. Gamarra already had been in custody for 41 months, and the judge sentenced him to the time already served, which is an effective sentence at the higher end of the applicable guidelines range. Under the sentencing order, Gamarra will be placed on three years of supervised release. During that time, he must meet a number of conditions, including staying away from the White House, maintaining mental health treatment, cooperating with the Secret Service in assessing his future risk, and avoiding all physical and online contact with any Secret Service protectee.

As established at trial, on March 28, 2017, at about 10:17 a.m., Gamarra approached a uniformed, on-duty officer of the U.S. Secret Service at a pedestrian access gate l on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, within 100 yards of the White House. He presented the officer with a priority mail package, stating it contained a “nuclear bomb detonator” that was being presented for “safekeeping.” Written on the package, in what appeared to be Gamarra’s handwriting, were the words: “Warning this is a tre threat on the President and Senator life” and “Warning 100% threat Brand New Electronic Detonator Device,” as well as Gamarra’s name and address.

In response to Gamarra’s claims, the U.S. Secret Service cleared the surrounding area, including the north fence line of the White House, Lafayette Park, and other areas near 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. People inside nearby buildings were instructed to shelter in place while the Metropolitan Police Department Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit evaluated the package. After approximately 90 minutes, the package was declared “safe,” and the area reopened. Inside the package was a Bluetooth keyboard and letter. Gamarra was arrested at the scene and was in custody until August 2020.

Gamarra was previously interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service in 2014 regarding threats to then-President Barack Obama. In 2014, Gamarra admitted to Secret Service agents that he had threatened President Obama in order to gain the “attention” of the Secret Service so he could “expose” “corruption.” During that interview, agents warned Gamarra that threats on the President of the United States are not protected speech and counseled Gamarra that such conduct was taken seriously by the Secret Service.


In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Stohler commended the work of those who investigated the case from the U.S. Secret Service and those who provided assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Seifert, Nicholas Coleman, and Daniel Lenerz, and Paralegal Specialists Genevieve De Guzman and Jorge Casillas. They expressed appreciation for the work of former Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Hutchinson and Mary Freeman, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Pearlman, who handled prior stages of the matter.

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