Brit Pleads Not Guilty in Plot to Kill Trump

     LAS VEGAS (CN) — Would-be Donald Trump assassin and U.K. citizen Michael Steven Sandford pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment and plea hearing in Federal Court on Wednesday.
     Sandford, 20, entered the courtroom wearing a yellow prison outfit with “Detainee” written on the back.
     He nervously scanned the courtroom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach initiated proceedings shortly after 3 p.m.
     Representing Sandford were attorneys Brenda Weksler and Ryan Norwood. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Grimmer represented the federal government.
     Ferenbach asked Sandford if he understood the charges against him, had time to speak with his legal counsel and whether or not he understands his rights as the defendant.
     Sandford confidently replied “Yes, sir” to most of Ferenbach’s questions and entered a plea of not guilty.
     Despite his mother saying Sandford is afflicted with Asperger syndrome, a type of autism, Weksler said Sandford is competent to stand trial.
     Sandford faces two counts of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and one count of disrupting a government function. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
     Sandford’s trial is scheduled for Aug. 22.
     On June 18, Sandford, of Dorking, Surrey, attempted to remove a police officer’s gun from its holster and said he intended to kill GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump during a political rally at the Mystere Theatre in the Treasure Island casino.
     Federal agents says Sandford admitted traveling to Las Vegas from San Bernardino, California, to kill Trump, had a pass for a Trump political rally scheduled in Phoenix, and would try again if released from custody.
     Sandford’s parents say he has been in the United States for about 18 months. Federal authorities say he has been in the United States illegally for the past year.
     His mother, Lynne, told British newspaper The Telegraph that Sandford is “sweet, sensitive and calm,” won’t be able to handle serving a prison term in the United States if convicted, cannot afford to pay up to $750,000 in fines and might try to commit suicide.
     She told the newspaper she wants the U.S. government to deport Sandford so that “he could be back in this country and get psychiatric help.”
     She also said Sandford’s father has visited her son in the United States since his arrest.

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