A man who authorities say threatened to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was on Thursday ordered held without bond pending trial.
Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey denied a motion for release and set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 28.
Harvey agreed to a request by U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, who opposed the motion while arguing defendant Cleveland Meredith is a “clearly disturbed, deranged, and dangerous individual.”
According to court filings, Meredith was heading to Washington on Jan. 6 to participate in a protest when his truck broke down. After arriving in Washington the next day, Meredith allegedly wrote in a text message that he was “thinking about heading over to Pelosi [expletive]’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” He also wrote, “You get that one Mr. Marxist FBI Agent? Go FK yourself.”
In other messages, he disparaged Democratic Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and threatened to kill her.
Authorities said Meredith committed an assault shortly after arriving in Washington and is a habitual drug user with a history of mental illness. They also reported finding two guns with him, as well as several high capacity magazines, and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition of various caliber, including “armor piercing” rounds.
“A clearly disturbed, deranged, and dangerous individual that fantasizes about committing horrific acts of violence and takes countless steps to carry them out by driving across several states with a trailer stocked with thousands of rounds of ammunition and multiple firearms—including an assault style rifle—should not remain in the community. Pre-trial detention is thus necessary to ensure that the residents and leaders of this community—and any other across the country that is comprised of people against whom the defendant harbors extreme political and racial animus— remain protected,” Sherwin wrote.
The public defender representing Meredith, Ubong Akpan, did not return an inquiry.
Akpan had said in a memo in support of Meredith’s release that the Supreme Court has outlined pre-trial detention as “the carefully limited exception.”
The government, Akpan said, “does not—and cannot—satisfy any of the conditions set forth” in federal law outlining pre-trial detention conditions. Meredith has no prior convictions and does not pose a serious flight risk, the public defender said.