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Is it a crime to knowingly and willfully threaten the life of a United States President?

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Federal law states that anyone who "knowingly and willfully" makes a threat "to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm" on the President or Vice President "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." However, in 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who stated that if he were drafted into the armed forces and made to carry a rifle, "the first man I want to get in my sights" is President Lyndon B. Johnson. The court ruled that this did not violate the law because it was "political hyperbole" and not a knowing and willful threat.

DocumentationFederal Law1969 Supreme Court Ruling



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