Prosecutors seek 21-month sentence for White House fence jumper

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2015 4:09 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors are seeking a 21-month prison sentence for the U.S. Army veteran from Texas who entered the White House with a knife before being tackled last year, according to court documents.

Prosecutors made the proposal in a sentencing memo for Omar Gonzalez filed in U.S. District Court on Monday. The recommendation is at the top of sentencing guidelines because Gonzalez "needlessly endangered" White House occupants and Secret Service officers, the memo said.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 8 but Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed to a request from Gonzalez's attorney for the hearing to be rescheduled to June 15.

On Sept. 19, Gonzalez, from Copperas Cove, Texas, climbed over the White House fence, ran across the lawn, and pushed past a Secret Service agent guarding an entrance and went into the executive mansion.

When he was arrested, he was found to be carrying a folding knife. He told a Secret Service agent that he needed to tell President Barack Obama that the atmosphere was collapsing.

The Obamas were not in the White House when the incident occurred. The breach played a part in a shake-up of the leadership of the Secret Service.

Police discovered ammunition, a machete, knives and weapons accessories in his truck.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty in March to entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly weapon and assaulting a Secret Service agent.

Gonzalez has no prior convictions and his family said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. His attorney, public defender Davis Bos, could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by John Clarke; Editing by Bill Trott)