President Barack Obama walks toward the Oval Office in between health care meetings in March. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)


Story Published: Apr 16, 2010 at 2:52 AM PDT

Story Updated: Apr 16, 2010 at 2:57 AM PDT

(CNN) — An Arkansas man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for plotting to kill dozens of blacks, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, federal authorities said.

Paul Schlesselman pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced in an Arkansas federal court Thursday.

Federal officials said Schlesselman had threatened to kill Obama on October 23, 2008, shortly before the presidential election.

He also planned to “murder dozens of people with a focus on murdering African-Americans,” the Justice Department said.

Schlesselman admitted planning the killing rampage for more than a month and had started to pile up weapons, including a short-barreled shotgun, the Justice Department said.

He planned to go on a series of robberies, burglaries and murders that would have ended with the killing of Obama, the Justice Department said.

“Our nation has made great progress in advancing civil rights, but this unthinkable conspiracy is a reminder that hate-fueled violence continues to be a very real problem in so many communities,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.


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