Man charged with threatening Obama pleads not guilty

Published 1:12 pm Thursday, August 11, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A man authorities said was living in a Pelham extended-stay hotel when he was charged with threatening the life of President Barack Obama pleaded not guilty to the charges in a U.S. District courtroom Aug. 11.


Uzbek national Ulugbek Kodirov pleaded not guilty to four counts of threatening Obama, one count of receiving and possessing an unregistered grenade, one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and unlawfully possessing a fully-automatic weapon, said his attorney, Lance Bell of Birmingham.

Both firearm charges refer to a Sendra Corporation Model M15-A1 rifle, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

Vance said Kodirov “repeatedly threatened to kill the president of the United States.” U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis heard the plea in the U.S. District courtroom in Birmingham.

According to law enforcement, Kodirov was living in a room at the Oak Mountain Lodge extended-stay hotel off U.S. 31 when he was arrested.

According to court documents, Kodirov was arrested July 13 at a motel in Leeds after police said he procured the M15 machine gun from an undercover agent. He was arrested on a charge of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Kodirov came to the United States in June 2009 and remained in the country on a student visa. His student visa was revoked April 1, 2010, for failure to enroll in school, according to the arrest affidavit.

Bell said federal authorities executed a search warrant on Kodirov’s hotel room, but he said he was unsure what the officers recovered.

Pelham police Lt. Scott Tucker said the case was handled by federal agencies, but Pelham police worked with federal officials to investigate the suspect.

The Shelby County and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices, the Federal Air Marshals, the Hoover, UAB and Birmingham police departments and local members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force also assisted in the case.

Kodirov faces maximum prison penalties of five years on each count of threatening the president, and 10 years on each of the weapons counts.

Vance and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Whisonant and Ryan Buchanan are prosecuting the case.