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Clarks Summit Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening President

A Lackawanna County man faces up to five year in prison after pleading guilty Monday afternoon to threatening President Obama.
A Lackawanna County man faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday afternoon to threatening President Barack Obama.

Prosecutors say Nicholas Savino made the threat last August, just days before President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden appeared together in Scranton.

Savino didn't really hide his threat. Federal prosecutors say he actually signed his name to the e-mail.

Nicholas Savino's attorney says his client was mad and made a rash, momentary mistake.

"He had received word that his pilot's license was denied. He had been working on it for years and he really just popped a cork. He just lost it and sent this e-mail out," defense attorney Paul Ackourey said.

Federal prosecutors say Savino sent an email to the White House, saying in part, "President Obama is the Anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead."

Police and federal agents took the threat seriously.

It came right before the commander-in-chief stopped in Lackawanna College last August.

When officials raided his apartment on Melrose Avenue in Clarks Summit, they found guns, a long-range scope and 11,000 rounds of ammunition among other things.

"After the Newtown shooting he had acquired some high-ballistics weapons and ammunition because there was a fear that those would be banned. It had nothing to do with the president coming," Ackourey said.

On the street, people think federal officials are trying to make an example out of Savino's case.

"I think there's a lot more to worry about going on today, the drug wars, you've got child molestors, you've got people hacking credit cards, you've got a lot more stuff going on than somebody sitting in their house sending an email," Pat McNamara of Scranton said.

Prosecutors now believe there is nothing to indicate Savino intended to carry out his threat and that could help reduce his sentence.

"We'll be certainly arguing that he should be released come June when he's sentenced. He will have at least ten months in," Ackourey said.

Savino will be sentenced on June 11th at 10:00 AM at the federal courthouse in Scranton.

As part of his plea deal, he has agreed to forfeit all of his firearms and ammunition.
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