Letter threatening governor turned over to FBI & state police

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It appears to be business as usual for Governor Bob McDonnell. We spotted him at the governor's mansion today entertaining guests. This, shortly after getting word that the governor's office received a threatening letter, which according to investigators, demands the governor -- quote, "Leave office within three days or risk being removed." Language that seems a bit ambiguous.  "One way to interpret that is it's a threat of physical violence. It could also be a call for removal at the polls," said NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

The letter was received on Wednesday. It's now in the hands of the FBI. Visitors at the state capitol had plenty to say about the situation.

"It's very disturbing. People are trying to get their way by scaring other people and that's not the way we do things in this country," said Scott Newman.

"I think it's mean and totally out of order because if decisions have to be made, there's a democratic way to do it," said Kalus Steger.

The organization that sent the letter, Guardians of the Free Republics, says it wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government.

Investigators say they don't see violent threats in the group's message but fear a broad call for removing top state officials could trigger violence by others.

"The real danger is some nut is going to decide he's been called upon to take action," said Benjamin.

The governor's office issued a response to the letter stating, "The governor and his family are secure at all times."

Governor McDonnell isn't the only elected official to receive a letter from the anti- government group. Investigators say the organization sent similar letters to other governor's nationwide.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.