Metro-East News

Edwardsville man who threatened to assassinate Trump could be sentenced to prison

An Edwardsville man who pleaded guilty to threatening to assassinate President Trump on Facebook may face up to five years in federal prison.

Joseph L. Pickett published multiple posts on Facebook, threatening to “take the life of, to kidnap, and to inflict bodily harm” against Trump, according to a criminal complaint filed with the charges in June.

“Before I die I want our president and congress to sign a treaty to never side with Russia or any enemy of the United States of America! If one will then that person deserves to be shot,” his post read. “Guess what Trump? I’m waiting for the right time...and I KNOW your (sic) Putin’s (expletive)! The secret service now has a heads up as to my plan to assassinate Trump...let’s see if they act.”

He went on to taunt the Secret Service, saying “am I really going to have to kill trump before our fine Government (the jack booted thugs they are) actually takes me into custody for threatening to assassinate President Donald Trump?”

Pickett was working at Lowe’s in Granite City up until six to eight months before the charges were filed. He was fired, however, for making threats to a coworker, according to the complaint. His coworkers reported the threatening posts to the St. Louis chapter of the Secret Service.

The maximum penalty for threatening to assassinate the president is five years in prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine, according to the plea agreement. The plea agreement recommended a sentence of six months in prison and three years of supervised release with mental health and substance abuse counseling and treatment.

Pickett initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but withdrew that plea Oct. 25. A competency hearing, also on Oct. 25, found Pickett to be competent enough to continue with the criminal proceedings. He’s set to be sentenced Feb. 16, 2018.

When Pickett lived in Troy, where he resided before Edwardsville, police responded to his home 19 times between 1999 and 2007 for various calls, including suicide threats and aggravated assault.