WASHINGTON — A lawyer for an Army veteran who got over the White House fence and ran inside the executive mansion before being stopped says his client shouldn't spend any more time in jail.
A lawyer for Omar Gonzalez filed a court document Friday asking a judge to give his client "time served" at a sentencing hearing set for Tuesday. Gonzalez has been in jail for about nine months since his arrest Sept. 19. Federal sentencing guidelines suggest a sentence ranging from a year to a year and a half in prison, his attorney wrote, adding that Gonzalez deserves leniency because of his Army service. Prosecutors, who gave a slightly longer guideline range, are asking that Gonzalez, 43, be sentenced to nearly two years in prison.
Gonzalez served in the Army from 1997 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2012 and was a cavalry scout responsible for "recognizance and providing security and patrol," his attorney David Bos wrote, adding that he was deployed to Iraq from 2006 to 2008. He was diagnosed with PDSD after returning from Iraq, Bos said.
"Mr. Gonzlez's service to his country has been not only extensive but also unusually dangerous. It certainly rises to the level of service warranting leniency in this case," Bos wrote.
Prosecutors argued in previously-filed court papers that Gonzalez was aware for years that he "needed treatment to address his PTSD, paranoia, and hallucinations, but did not make sufficient efforts to consistently obtain that treatment."
After Gonzalez's arrest for entering the White House, he was found carrying a folding knife in his pants pocket, and investigators found hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a machete and several tomahawks in his car. Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent after his arrest that he wanted to tell the president that the atmosphere was collapsing.
Gonzalez, who previously lived in Copperas Cove, Texas, pleaded guilty in March to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and assaulting, resisting or impeding a Secret Service officer. President Barack Obama and his daughters had just left the White House when Gonzalez got inside. The first lady was not home.
Gonzalez' arrest in Washington preceded the disclosure of other serious Secret Service security breaches and ultimately led to Julia Pierson's resignation as director of the agency after 18 months on the job.
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