updated 8/15/2008 4:29:56 PM ET 2008-08-15T20:29:56

A Virginia man was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for carrying a loaded shotgun near the U.S. Capitol and hiding explosives in his truck.

Michael Gorbey, 38, told police he had an appointment with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts when he was caught on the afternoon of Jan. 18 carrying the 12-gauge shotgun on Capitol Hill. He also had a three-foot-long sword strapped to his back and was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Authorities later found a homemade explosive device behind the driver’s seat of Gorbey’s pickup truck parked nearby.

“This is a situation that ... could easily have turned into a major gun battle,” District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson said. “It was plain old dumb luck that nobody got hurt — including you, Mr. Gorbey.”

Gorbey, of Rapidan, was found guilty in May of 14 charges, including trying to possess or make a weapon of mass destruction.

He represented himself during a three-week trial, arguing that he was framed. He accused police of planting explosives in his truck and said he was only carrying a walking stick when he was arrested. He said images of him holding a shotgun were altered.

“They want me to look insane,” Gorbey said at Friday’s hearing.

Prosecutors asked the judge for a lengthy sentence, noting that Gorbey has refused to consider that he might have mental health problems and need help. They said that makes him a threat to the public.

“The danger is Mr. Gorbey genuinely believes that he is the subject of a conspiracy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings said. “In his mind, the conspiracy is even bigger than it once was now that he is about to be sentenced.”

Police initially said a bomb squad did not find anything dangerous in Gorbey’s truck, which was parked between the Capitol and Union Station.

But another search several weeks later uncovered a can of gun powder taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle of BB pellets. The truck also held 750 rounds of ammunition.

Three top Capitol Police supervisors were reassigned after that search.

Court records show Gorbey is a convicted felon and has been in and out of prison since 1991 for convictions on larceny, domestic violence and illegal gun and drug charges.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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