Woman guilty of trespass in Clinton shoe incident

AP News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2014 6:20 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Phoenix woman who was accused of throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton while the former U.S. secretary of state addressed a Las Vegas audience in April pleaded guilty to trespassing, but is fighting a charge of violence against a person in a restricted building.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Thursday that 36-year-old Alison Michelle Ernst is due for a jury trial Oct. 29 in U.S. District Court on the violence charge.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. on Monday ruled Ernst fit for trial after reviewing results of a psychological exam sought by her lawyer, William Carrico, an assistant federal public defender.

Carrico was out of the office Thursday and unavailable for comment.

Both charges are misdemeanors. Ernst faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine on each.

Clinton, a former first lady and Democratic senator from New York, was speaking on stage April 10 at the Mandalay Bay resort to a recycling industry conference when Ernst threw a soccer shoe past her.

Clinton flinched and ducked but wasn't struck. She continued her speech.

Ernst surrendered to security guards who escorted her out of the ballroom to a sofa in a hallway where she told an Associated Press reporter she threw a shoe and dropped some papers. Ernst didn't identify herself or explain her action before security officers ushered reporters and photographers away.

Authorities said Ernst wasn't a credentialed conference attendee and wasn't supposed to have been in the ballroom, which had more than 1,000 people.

The shoe-throwing incident reminded some of former President George W. Bush dodging shoes thrown by an Iraqi journalist during a Baghdad news conference in December 2008. Shoe-throwing is considered an insult in Arab cultures.