Twenty-year-old jailed for 12 months by Las Vegas court for trying to grab police officers gun at Trump rally
A 20-year-old Briton has been jailed for 12 months by a Las Vegas court for trying to grab a police officers gun at a Donald Trump rally in June.
Michael Steven Sandford, who has autism, tried to get the weapon at a Las Vegas casino where Trump was addressing supporters during the presidential campaign.
He allegedly told officers after his arrest that he planned to shoot Trump.
Sandford, of Dorking, Surrey, pleaded guilty in September to charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function.
He could have faced up to 20 years in prison if he had been convicted at trial of both charges.
Judge James Mahan told him: You have a medical problem. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed about it. You need medication.
Youre not a hardened criminal. Youre not evil or a sociopath like a lot of people we have. I dont think you wanted to kill anybody. This was just some crazy stunt that your mind told you to do.
A tearful Sandford told the court: I know saying sorry is not enough. I really do feel awful about what I did. I wish there was some way to make things better. I have cost taxpayers so much money. I feel terrible.
Addressing the judge, he added: Im really sorry to you and the court for taking up so much time.
As he has already been in custody since being arrested, he is not expected to have to spend a further 12 months behind bars.
Sandford did not get hold of the gun before he was arrested, and no shots were fired.
Court documents say that Sandford told a federal agent that he drove from California to Las Vegas with a plan to kill Trump.
His UK lawyer, Saimo Chahal, QC, of Bindmans, had argued that Sandford was delusional at the time.
The court papers also stated that Sandford had gone to a gun range in Las Vegas to learn how to fire a gun, which he had not done before.
Sandford told police he had been in the US for 18 months before the incident. He was unemployed, living out of his car and in the US illegally.
As well as autism, he also has obsessive compulsive disorder, severe depression, seizures, cardiac issues and Crohns disease, according to his family.
His mother Lynne Sandford, who travelled to the US for the sentencing with her mother Christine and four-year-old daughter Jessica, had appealed to the judge to allow her son to serve his sentence in the UK so he could get the right psychiatric help.
The family has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the legal costs relating to their bid to bring Sandford back to the UK to serve his sentence.
Michaels actions were completely out of character. He is an extremely vulnerable young man and we believe that he needs to return to the UK in order to serve his sentence, his mother wrote.
Until sentencing, Lynne Sandford had only seen her son once since he was arrested.
During my visit to Las Vegas, I learned that Michael had been on suicide watch several times following numerous mental breakdowns, she wrote. Suicide watch in the US involves being kept in isolation 24/7 for up to a week at a time. Other prisoners are allowed books, but these are taken away from Michael while he is in isolation. Michael isnt even allowed toilet paper while he is in isolation.