A British man has pleaded not guilty to charges from his attempt to steal a police officer’s gun to shoot Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Twenty-year-old Michael Sanford, from England, was arrested and taken into custody at a Trump rally at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas on June 21st after he attempted to grab a pistol off the hip of a police officer protecting Trump.
Sandford stood wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit with his federal public defense attorneys during his arraignment. When asked by US magistrate judge Cam Ferenbach asked whether he understood the nature of the charges against him, He responded “yes, I do.”
After he was arrested, Sandford told officers that he had intended to kill Trump. He also said that he had purchased tickets to another event later that day in Phoenix, Arizona, just in case the first attempt didn’t work out. He had driven to Las Vegas from San Bernardino, California, that day in order to shoot Trump.
A federal grand jury found in June that there was enough evidence to charge Sandford. His visa had expired, so was in the country illegally. Based on this and his actions he was brought up on three felony charges: two counts of illegal alien in possession of a firearm and one count of impeding and disrupting the orderly conduct of government business and official functions.
The first firearm charge is from when Sandford grabbed for the officer’s gun at the rally, and the second to when he visited a shooting range to learn how to shoot a gun. Sandford practiced with a Glock 9 mm handgun, which is the type he allegedly tried to grab from the officer.
Sandford was denied bail in June by federal magistrate George Foley on the grounds that he would be a flight risk. He will remain in custody until his trial, which is set to begin on 22 August.
If convicted he faces up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $750,000.