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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

British Man Arrested At Trump Rally In June Pleads Guilty

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The British man who seized the firearm of a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer at a Donald Trump rally in June, pleaded guilty today to two felony charges and will be sentenced in December, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.

“It is fortunate that no one was harmed in this incident,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.  “The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer’s attentiveness and quick action prevented the escalation of this crime. The result was that no one was injured.”

Michael Steven Sandford, 20, of England, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan to one count of illegal alien in possession of a firearm and one count of impeding and disrupting the orderly conduct of government business and official functions.  The maximum penalty for each count is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13, 2016, at 10 a.m.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, on June 17, 2016, Sandford, who is a British citizen and was unlawfully in the United States because he had overstayed his tourist visa that expired on Aug. 30, 2015, went to a gun range in Las Vegas and took shooting lessons using a rented Glock 9 millimeter handgun.  The following day, on June 18, Sandford entered a political rally event for Donald Trump at the Mystere Theatre in the Treasure Island Casino. The entrance to the event was clearly marked with posters designating the grounds as restricted and under the protection of the U.S. Secret Service.  Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were also present at the rally to assist with security.  Inside the rally, Sandford approached a uniformed Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer and asked to obtain Trump’s autograph. When the officer gave his verbal reply, Sandford, using both hands, seized the officer’s Glock 9 millimeter handgun and attempted to pull it from the holster. Sandford was immediately arrested and removed from the rally. Sandford’s conduct was disorderly and disruptive and required the U.S. Secret Service, other law enforcement, and security personnel to respond to the threat posed by Sandford.  Sandford’s arrest also disrupted the speech given by Trump.           

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared L. Grimmer.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated September 13, 2016