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A Connecticut man who donned an American flag as a cape and scaled the White House fence on Thanksgiving Day of last year pleaded guilty Monday during an appearance in federal court in Washington D.C.
Joseph A. Caputo, 23, of Stamford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to a charge of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, which carries a statutory maximum of one year in prison, potential financial penalties, and up to a year of supervised release.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 6. The government has agreed to recommend that the court impose a period of probation, during which Caputo would be subject to various conditions, including an order to stay away from the District of Columbia and any facilities, sites or people under Secret Service protection, and an agreement to submit to interviews by the Secret Service and undergo a psychiatric evaluation, if requested, by a Secret Service psychologist.
According to the government’s evidence, on Thanksgiving Day of last year an officer with the U.S. Secret Service’s Uniformed Division witnessed Caputo scaling the White House fence at about 2:45 p.m. At the time, Caputo had one leg over the fence and was wearing an American flag around him like a cape.
The officer ran towards Caputo, but he made it over the fence and dropped onto the North Lawn of the White House. The officer called over the radio to alert other officers, and members of the Uniformed Division ordered Caputo to stop and get on the ground.
Caputo complied with the orders and was immediately taken into custody.
While in custody, prosecutors said Caputo made spontaneous statements to law enforcement, including, “I love my country” and “I knew I would be locked up,”
At the time of the incident, his lawyer, Stephan Seeger, described him as a "politically-conscious young man" who was simply trying to "deliver a message."