Alleged shotgun-wielder seeks to represent himself in court

The man charged last month with carrying a loaded shotgun while walking toward the Supreme Court said he was set up by police and is taking steps to clear his name without the help of a court-appointed lawyer.

Michael Steven Gorbey, 38, appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Monday and asked to represent himself, saying that he was “deeply dissatisfied” with his public defender, Elizabeth Mullin.

Gorbey, a convicted felon, has accused U.S. Capitol Police of fabricating evidence that led to his arrest on Jan. 18. He said what he was carrying that day was not a shotgun, but a backpack full of documents that showed attempts by federal agencies to wiretap his telephone.

In an interview with Gorbey last week at Washington, D.C., Central Detention Center, Gorbey told The Hill that he was arrested on his way to a scheduled meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts, an appointment that he had set up through the clerk’s office of the court.

Kathy Arberg, spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, said that they have no record of such an appointment and that it is “very rare” for a member of the general public to be able to schedule one.

Gorbey has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1991, including several felony convictions and a previous conviction for the same crime — felon in possession of a firearm. He has also represented himself in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The jury found him not guilty.

Gorbey, of Rapidan, Va., also said that in the bag were shells of bullets that he said were fired at him by police officers in Virginia and West Virginia, while he was living in national parks with his girlfriend and two children, ages 4 and 8.

These claims are familiar to Thomas Dyre, an attorney in Clarksburg, W.Va. who was Gorbey’s attorney briefly in the 2005 case before he represented himself.

“There’s a miniscule amount of truth to some of what he says,” said Dyre. “But almost 99.9 percent of it is a pure figment of his imagination.”

Dyre said that in his 2005 case, Gorbey was able to convince the jury that he had “suffered enough” and that the punishment proposed by the prosecuting U.S. attorney exceeded the crime he was being charged with.

Dyre had all but forgotten about the case, until one evening while sitting in a Pittsburgh bar when he glanced up at the television screen and saw a Capitol Police officer on the news explaining Gorbey’s recent arrest. He said he almost did not believe it until he saw Gorbey’s mug shot.

But Gorbey does not pose any real threat to the public, according to Dyre, nor does he have any politically oriented malice.

“This is pure, unmitigated insanity in its purest and truest form,” Dyre said. “This guy has no political connection, no political agenda. That’s just a façade for his insanity. There’s no need for anyone to panic about any conspiracies here or any subversive political agendas, this guy is plain and simple just nuts.”

Gorbey’s next court date is scheduled for Feb. 14, at which point the judge plans to decide if his case warrants self-representation.

Capitol Police does not comment on current investigations, according to spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Schneider.