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Hobart man charged with threatening the president
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Hobart man charged with threatening the president

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HAMMOND | A former Hobart mayoral candidate has been charged with federal counts of making threats against the U.S. president, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Jimmie Ray, 32, who ran unsuccessfully in the Hobart Democratic mayoral primary in 2007, appeared in Hammond federal court on charges alleging he influenced, impeded or retaliated against a federal official by threat and threatened the president of the United States, according the the U.S. attorney's office in Hammond.

Though prosecutors said the complaint against Ray had been unsealed in Hammond federal court Tuesday, no documents or details pertaining to the case were available as of Tuesday afternoon.

Federal Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich ordered that Ray be detained at a prison hospital for a competency evaluation, prosecutors stated in a written release.

Hobart police Lt. David Grissom said U.S. Secret Service agents visited the Hobart Police Department on Friday and advised them of a situation with Ray.

A Hobart police lieutenant accompanied the federal agents to Ray's home, where the defendant was arrested on federal charges, Grissom said.

Grissom said he was not surprised by allegations that Ray had allegedly sent threatening messages to the president.

"Ray leaves Hobart police messages every single night on everything and everyone," said Grissom, noting that some of Ray's messages have included references to supposed terrorist plots.

This is not the first time the defendant has had trouble with the law. Ray was convicted of misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, false informing and intimidation in Lake County court between 2006 and 2008.

Ray commented on some of his misdemeanor charges during a 2007 interview with The Times when he was running for Hobart mayor.

At that time, Ray claimed he felt offended by his treatment at the hands of police.

"I've been privy to some things, some corrupt elements in the existing city structure. ... I want to defeat it," Ray said.

In the pending federal case, the court is awaiting results of the competency exam before scheduling further hearings, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Times staff writer Deborah Laverty contributed to this report.

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