Feds: British Man Planned Trump Assassination Attempt for Nearly a Year
At a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas this weekend, authorities said, a man approached a police officer to ask how he could go about getting the presumptive Republican nominee’s autograph. He then tried to grab the officer’s weapon, which he allegedly intended to use to shoot Trump, fulfilling an assassination plot he’d been planning for about a year.
In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada, 20-year-old Michael Steven Sandford—a British man living in country illegally after overstaying a visa—was charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds. He was denied bail at a hearing on Monday, the Associated Press reports, and has not entered a plea.
Sanford told Secret Service agents who interviewed him after his arrest that he’d bought also bought a ticket to an upcoming rally in Phoenix, Arizona if he didn’t go through with the plan in Las Vegas. He also told the agents that he expected to be killed during his attempt on Trump’s life.
Sanford’s assigned public defender, Heather Fraley, said that Sandford appeared mentally competent, Las Vegas Now reports. He hasn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness, but he has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, and was previously suicidal. He has also been treated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia.
Last week, the complaint alleges, Sanford went to a firing range in Las Vegas to learn how to shoot a gun. He told the Secret Service that if he was released he would attempt to kill Trump again.