Army Veteran Gets 17 Months for White House Intrusion

An Army veteran who got over the White House fence and made it as far as the East Room before being stopped has been sentenced to 17 months.

Judge Rosemary M. Collyer sentenced Omar Gonzalez on Tuesday in federal court in Washington and recommended that he be transferred to a prison in California, where his father lives, before release.

Prosecutors asked that Gonzalez spend nearly two years in prison, but Gonzalez's lawyer argued that he deserves leniency because of his Army service.

Gonzalez has been in jail for nearly nine months since his arrest last September. His attorney and government lawyers have said he has a history of mental health issues.

Gonzalez, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, according to NBC News, has also said that he has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, in a sentencing memo released earlier this month, prosecutors said Gonzalez hasn't shown that he can be trusted to get treatment consistently.

After his arrest, Gonzalez allegedly told a Secret Service agent that he was worried that "the atmosphere was collapsing" and he needed to tell President Barack Obama.

Earlier this month, prosecutors released photos showing several guns, hatchets, knives and ammunition that officers allegedly found in his car during a July 2014 traffic stop in Virginia, an incident that preceded the White House breach by two months. Gonzalez allegedly told them he was having a "flashback" and an "Iraqi moment." Authorities say they also found a map of D.C. with several places highlighted, including the White House. Gonzalez said a friend had given him the map, and that the highlighted areas were places he should visit.

After Gonzalez's arrest inside the White House in September, investigators found 800 of rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in his car. A folding knife he was carrying in his pants pocket when he was arrested had a 3.5-inch long blade, according to the Secret Service.

Gonzalez's arrest was one of several Secret Service security breaches that ultimately led to Julia Pierson's resignation as director of the agency.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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