LAS VEGAS (AP) — A British man was deported home to England after nearly 11 months in U.S. custody for trying to grab a police officer’s gun in a bid to shoot then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, authorities said Thursday.
Michael Steven Sandford, 21, was escorted by federal agents aboard a commercial aircraft Wednesday for his flight from Seattle to London, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
Sandford was found to have overstayed a 90-day visa after entering the U.S. in June 2015, Kice said. He had been held at a federal prison near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Sandford’s court-appointed attorney in Las Vegas, Brenda Weksler, said she spoke with Sandford’s mother, Lynne Sandford of Dorking, England, while Sandford was on the way home. Weksler didn’t describe the conversation.
The mother’s lawyer in London, Saimo Chahal, didn’t immediately respond to messages. Chahal said previously that MIchael Sandford suffers seizures, obsession-compulsion, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders, and that a psychiatrist determined that he was delusional at the time of the attempted attack.
A federal judge acknowledged in December that Sandford had been diagnosed with psychotic mental illness, and said he would be deported after he served his prison time.
Sandford pleaded guilty in September to being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function. He acknowledged trying with both hands to grab a police officer’s gun during a June 18 campaign rally in a crowded Las Vegas strip casino ballroom.
It was not clear if Trump recognized a threat before officers escorted Sandford out of the 1,500-seat theater at the Treasure Island hotel-casino. But Trump noticed the commotion and thanked police as Sandford was ushered away.
Sandford told a federal agent following his arrest that he planned and practiced the attack, and arrived in Las Vegas days before the campaign event.