In Search of Justice: The Sad Saga of Former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden

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By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine

A Reprint from the PCC Network

In his search for truth & justice, former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden has encountered many battles in life, and has faced untold obstacles in his 53-year quest to clear his name of a crime he said he never committed – all to no avail. According to Bolden, he was framed by the government – the Secret Service and other law enforcement officials.

Bolden, the first Black Secret Service Agent on a U.S. Presidential Detail, was personally picked by President John F. Kennedy to join his presidential detail while Kennedy was on a trip to Chicago in 1961. He was elated, and who wouldn’t be elated. After all, it was a time of racial strife in the country and an offer like this to a black man was unimaginable to say the least. At the time he was a local Chicago Secret Service agent.

Clearing his name is something that is sacred to him, and even at 82 years old, he is still mindful of that duty to himself, family, friends, and supporters, that he must never give up on that goal.

And in spite of his many trials and tribulations, which included three heart attacks, a Pace Maker and a bout with cancer – Bolden has not given up, and he said he “will never give up, because God is in the plan.

In King James Version of the Bible, John 14:1, it states: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. And in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me “

Abraham Bolden has been talking about his dismal plight now for a very long time; how he was railroaded by the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement officials while he was a secret service agent. He’s been fighting a long time to clear his name, after spending three years and three months in federal prison for a crime he emphatically says he never committed. He was fired from the Secret Service in August 1964, spent three years and three months in federal prison, and paroled in 1969. He is deeply rooted in history. He is an American hero, a black man that won’t give up his fight to clear his name. God was in his life at a very early age, when he was a young kid. He grew up, believing in the justice of God.

Bolden, the East Saint Louis native who was the first black Secret Service Agent, became an agent in 1960.

And since that time, he’s had a long history of fighting a battle he never imagined, and also feels betrayed.  Not only did he face racism from his fellow agents while on the job, but he has spent most of his life fighting to clear his name.

It has been a long haul for Bolden and one helluva ride for a patriotic and courageous man in his quest to seek justice and clear his name. He has spent most of his life toward that goal – 53 years to be exact – all to no avail. Bolden is aware that it’s been a slow road to attaining the dream of clearing his name, he was denied pardons by three U.S. Presidents (Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), yet, he has no intentions of ever giving up in his endeavors to clear his name. Even after the three heart attacks, a pace maker and a bout with cancer he still has a whimper of hope in clearing his name, which has evaded him for so many years.

Bolden is an historical figure.

Bolden was accused of taking a $50,000 bribe from a counterfeiting ring that he had helped break, which he denies, and eventually did time for bribery. He has spent most of his life fighting a grave injustice done to him.

Prior to joining Kennedy’s presidential detail, Bolden served as a former Illinois state trooper and a Secret Service Agent in Chicago. He graduated cum laude from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a B.A. degree in music composition.

President Kennedy told Bolden he was the “Jackie Robinson of Baseball”. Some have said he was framed because he knew too much.

In published reports it was stated that after two incredibly unfair criminal trials the first in which the sitting judge instructed the jury that Bolden was guilty of all counts in the indictment. Bolden was convicted; however, but the case against Bolden began to fall apart when one of the witnesses, Joseph Spagnoli, who testified against Bolden, confessed that he and another witness, Frank William Jones, concocted and fabricated the criminal case against Bolden with the help of an Assistant United States Attorney. In spite of Spagnoli’s confession and the government’s refusal to deny the charges levied by Spagnoli, Bolden was sent away to the penitentiary.

After an initial mistrial, Bolden was convicted and served three years and three months in federal prison before he was paroled in 1969.

Bolden was arraigned in Chicago on May 20, 1964 on federal charges that he had solicited a bribe from a counterfeiting ring that he had helped break. He was accused of seeking $50,000 in exchange for a secret file on the investigation. The government’s case rested primarily on the testimony of the two men, Frank Jones and Joseph Spagnoli, both facing criminal charges.

Bolden was not accused of receiving or was he ever found to be in possession of any illicit funds from the accused felons who testified against him. He maintained his innocence, asserting that he had been framed because he planned to expose dereliction among the agents assigned to guard Kennedy in front of the Commission. The Secret Service denied Bolden’s claims

Reportedly, there were two witnesses who testified against Bolden at his trial. One of them, who accused Bolden of soliciting bribes, admitted that federal prosecutors had asked him to lie about the case. However, when Bolden appealed and requested a new trial it was denied and Bolden began serving a six-year sentence in 1966, and paroled in 1969.

Bolden is a strong man, a very focused man, a religious man, a patriotic man, a man of integrity That was noted in many articles that I read about him pertaining to his plight. Where does that strength come from? From God, his wife (he and his wife Barbara were married 49 years), mother, children and many supporters.

Bolden focused on two voices he heard while in his prison cell. The dark room lit up and the voice told him not to be afraid. Another voice asked his name and said “God is with you.” Bolden said he knew the voices were spiritual messages from God.

He talked fondly about President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, he said, “meant a lot to me, I will miss him for the rest of my life.”

You can watch the complete interview with Dr. Juanita Bratcher and Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden on

And On a Final Note:

To Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden

By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

And change one’s life and living at will

You fight to the end to clear your good name

But nothing goes right, and you’re labeled insane

It seems that the world stands still and there is no hope

But God sees all and there’s room to cope

So when you scream to the top of your voice and ask God that justice prevails

You’ll see, all will go well

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