By Lisa Cornwell

CINCINNATI: A former Cincinnati-area bartender charged with threatening to kill House Speaker John Boehner pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court after being found competent to stand trial.

A U.S. District Court judge in Cincinnati found Michael Hoyt competent Wednesday based on a report from a federal medical center in Massachusetts, where Hoyt had been sent for mental evaluation and treatment. Judge Timothy Black determined that Hoyt met the requirements for competency, which include an ability to make decisions and assist in his defense.

A shackled Hoyt sat quietly in court, responding briefly in a soft voice to a few questions from the judge, including whether he understood the defense plans.

He is charged with threatening to kill Boehner, either with a gun or by poisoning his drink. Court documents indicate Hoyt has a history of mental illness, and the judge noted that history was included in the mental evaluation report.

Hoyt was indicted in January, and a separate criminal complaint said he was fired last fall from a suburban Cincinnati country club where Boehner is a member. Authorities say Hoyt said he began hearing the devil’s voice after his firing, telling him Boehner was “evil.”

Hoyt’s attorney and the prosecutor left the court without commenting. But defense attorney Martin Pinales told the judge that he plans to file notice with the court that the defense will argue that Hoyt was not guilty by reason of insanity.