President Donald Trump | Photo Credit WikiMedia Commons
At a Donald Trump rally in June, a 20-year-old Briton has been jailed for trying to grab a police officer’s gun by a Las Vegas court. He was given a twelve month sentence.
During the presidential campaign, at a Las Vegas casino where Trump was addressing supporters, Michael Steven Sandford, who has autism, tried to take the weapon from a Metropolitan Las Vegas Police Officer. After his arrest, he told officials that he planned to shoot Trump.
Michael, of Dorking, Surrey, pleaded guilty in September, to charges of disturbing an official function, and being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
If he had been convicted at trial of both charges, he could have faced up to twenty years in prison.
Judge James Mahan told him, “You have a medical problem. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed about it. You need medication.
You’re not a hardened criminal. You’re not evil or a sociopath like a lot of people we have. I don’t think you wanted to kill anybody. This was just some crazy stunt that your mind told you to do.”
But the troubled young man had his own shocking things to say…
Source Credit: (AP Photo/Matt York)
A tearful Sandford told the court, “I know saying sorry is not enough. I really do feel awful about what I did. I wish there was some way to make things better. I have cost taxpayers so much money. I feel terrible.”
Addressing the judge, he added, “I’m really sorry to you and the court for taking up so much time.”
He is not expected to spend more than twelve months behind bars. Before he was arrested, Sandford did not get a hold of the gun, and no shots were fired.
He told a federal agent that he drove to Las Vegas from California with a plan to kill Trump. According to court papers in Las Vegas, Sandford had gone to a gun range to learn how to use a firearm.
Sandford was delusional at the time, according to his UK lawyer, Saimo Chahal, QC, of Bindmans. He told police that before the incident, he had been in the US for eighteen months, living illegally in his car — and was unemployed.
When his mother showed up, things took a whole other turn…
Mental Breakdown or Evil Malice
According to his family, besides autism, Sandford also has severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, Crohn’s disease, cardiac issues, and seizures.
His mother appealed to the court to help her son get the right psychiatric help by allowing him to serve his sentence in the UK. Lynne Sandford, traveled to the US for the sentencing with her four-year-old daughter, Jessica, and with her own mother, Christine.
To cover the legal costs to bring Sandford back to the UK to serve his sentence, the family launched a crowd funding campaign.
His mother wrote, “Michael’s actions were completely out of character. He is an extremely vulnerable young man and we believe that he needs to return to the UK in order to serve his sentence.”
Since her son was arrested, Lynne had only seen him once before the sentencing.
“During my visit to Las Vegas, I learned that Michael had been on suicide watch several times following numerous mental breakdowns,” she wrote.
“Suicide watch in the US involves being kept in isolation 24/7 for up to a week at a time. Other prisoners are allowed books, but these are taken away from Michel while he is in isolation. Michel isn’t even allowed toilet paper while he is in isolation.”
Considering his actions, however, mum might not understand her son as well as she thinks.
What do you believe? Is he mental or a madman?