United States

Fence Jumper Who Spent 15 Minutes on White House Grounds Gets No Jail Time

Man placed on probation

A man who jumped the White House fence and went undetected on White House grounds for more than 15 minutes will not spend any time in prison for the offense.

A federal judge sentenced Jonathan Tuan Tran, of Milpitas, California, to two years of probation, despite a request from prosecutors to sentence Tran to prison.

On March 10, 2017, Tran climbed the fence at the Treasury Building and then jumped the fence of the White House, according to a government official.

Tran made it up to one of the doors of the White House, where he was finally confronted and arrested. He was carrying two cans of Mace, according to court documents.

In court filings reviewed by the News4 I-Team, prosecutors said Tran was obsessed with President Donald Trump and told federal officers he leapt the fence to “warn President Trump of ‘fake news.” In their filings with the court, prosecutors said Tran had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and experienced suicidal thoughts.

U.S. District Court judge James E. Boasberg told the court Tran’s crime was “not victimless, because there was a cost to government officials.” Boasberg cited the movement of agents and disruption of White House operations.

Boasberg said, “If you do it again, you’re going to jail.”

In a memo to the court prior to sentencing, prosecutors said Tran’s fence jumping inspired at least one copycat to breach security. The memo said, “The defendant’s obsession with the president and the urgency with which he feels he must discuss his concerns with the president make him a continuing threat and appears to be too strong to be checked by a non-incarceratory sentence. His discussion of the incident on social media appears to be, at least in part, an act of reinforcing his self-esteem, as if he values the incident as means of interacting with persons he perceives as followers.”

Trump was in the White House at the time.

The U.S. Secret Service fired two members of its uniformed division over the incident. One was assigned to a guard house near the Treasury Building, while the other was assigned to the East Executive Avenue entrance, NBC News reported.

Tran is one of at least 20 people arrested for breaching security at the White House since 2014, according to a News4 I-Team investigation. Tran and his attorney declined to comment to News4.

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