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WASHINGTON – Jonathan Tran, 27, of Milpitas, Calif., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from an incident earlier this year in which he illegally entered the grounds of the White House, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Brian J. Ebert, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.
Tran pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. The charge carries a statutory maximum of a year in prison and a potential fine. The parties agreed to recommend to the Court that any period of supervised release or probation include conditions, including a prohibition barring Tran from entering the District of Columbia while he is under supervision, except for court appearances and meetings with his lawyer. He also would be required to participate in interviews with the Secret Service to assist in determining potential current and future risks.
The Honorable James E. Boasberg scheduled sentencing for Sept. 25, 2017. Tran remains free on personal recognizance pending the sentencing.
“This guilty plea holds Jonathan Tran accountable for illegally entering the grounds of the White House and putting himself and others at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “Thanks to the Secret Service, he was arrested and no one was hurt in this defendant’s reckless and potentially dangerous act.”
“The safety and security of the President, the First Family and all staff and visitors to the White House complex is the Secret Service’s first priority,” said Special Agent in Charge Ebert. “Any attempt to breach security and gain unauthorized access is a serious criminal offense and will be dealt with as such. The Secret Service continuously strives to improve and adapt our protective methodologies and security features to meet the ever growing and evolving threat.”
According to the government’s evidence, on March 10, 2017, at about 11:35 p.m., an officer with the U.S. Secret Service’s Uniform Division saw Tran walking from the east side of the south grounds of the White House complex. Tran, who was wearing a hooded sweater or jacket and carrying a backpack, was approaching the South Portico entrance to the White House. When Tran saw the officer, he altered course and began heading toward the South Lawn. The officer confronted Tran, who claimed to be “a friend of the President.” In a search incident to arrest, two cans of pepper spray were found on Tran, including one inside his jacket pocket.
This case was investigated by the Secret Service’s Washington Field Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Mudd of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.