Administration

Accused White House fence-jumper pleads not guilty

 

A man who allegedly climbed over the White House fence and ran through the building before being tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent pleaded not guilty to all charges levied against him on Wednesday.

Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, faces federal charges of illegally entering a restricted building while carrying a weapon, as well as two violations of District of Columbia law for carrying a weapon outside a home or business and possessing unlawful ammunition. 

Gonzalez, who appeared before the District of Columbia District Court wearing an orange jumpsuit, could face up to 16 years in prison if convicted of the charges. 

{mosads}The incident is one in a series of serious security breaches that led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson on Wednesday.

Gonzalez entered and exited the courtroom with his hands behind his back, but did not appear to be handcuffed. He will be detained until a status hearing before the court on Oct. 21.

On behalf of the court, Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson ordered an evaluation of Gonzalez’s mental condition.

But David Bos, an assistant federal public defender who is serving as Gonzalez’s lawyer, argued that his client was competent to stand trial.

“There is no basis at this time for any type of forensic screening,” Bos said. “It’s so clear this is not appropriate.”

After Gonzalez’s arrest on Sept. 19, the day of the incident, he allowed authorities to search his vehicle, which had more than 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete. Authorities also found a folding knife with a 3 1/2 inch blade in his right front pants pocket.

Gonzalez’s appeared in court a day after a federal grand jury indicted him on all three counts.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday he had “complete confidence in the ability of the U.S. attorney here in the District of Columbia to fully prosecute this individual who has been charged with a crime.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Mudd and Thomas Gillice are prosecuting the case.

This post was updated at 2:55 p.m.

Tags Barack Obama Omar Gonzalez Secret Service White House
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