Rapid City man faces federal charges for assassination threat ahead of Trump's Mount Rushmore trip

President Donald Trump speaks during the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on Friday, July 3 in Keystone. (Matt Gade / Republic)

RAPID CITY — A 29-year-old Rapid City man has been federally indicted and charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and threatening the president ahead of his July 3 trip to Mount Rushmore earlier this year.

Lucian Celestine was indicted earlier this year and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollman on Sept. 11 to plead not guilty to the firearms charge. A superseding indictment issued Sept. 17 includes one count for the threat to President Donald Trump and one count for knowingly possessing a firearm despite being prohibited from doing so.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, and possible court costs and restitution.

The charging documents indicate that Celestine has previously been committed to a mental institution and is prohibited from possessing firearms. He allegedly acquired and possessed a Browning bolt-action rifle, scope, and ammunition around the date of June 30 in Rapid City. Celestine later threatened to shoot the President of the United States by climbing Mount Rushmore and shooting the President from the top of the memorial during the Independence Day celebration.

The investigation is being conducted by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, the Rapid City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Secret Service.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman is prosecuting the case. Celestine has been assigned a federal public defender.

Celestine has been detained pending trial. A trial date has been set for Nov. 17.

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