White House Intruder Pleads Guilty, Faces 18 Months in Prison

 / Updated 
Image: Omar J. Gonzalez after an arrest in July. Police say Gonzalez jumped the White House fence and made it to the North Portico doors.
Omar J. Gonzalez after an arrest in July. Police say Gonzalez jumped the White House fence and made it to the North Portico doors before he was stopped.New River Regional Jail

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The man who scaled a White House fence and ran inside the executive mansion in a stunning security breach that shook the Secret Service pleaded guilty to two federal charges Friday.

Omar Gonzalez, 43, on Friday pleaded guilty to one count each of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a weapon and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.

Gonzalez faces between 12 to 18 months in prison when he is sentenced June 8, prosecutors said. He will also have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Gonzalez's ex-wife has said the Army veteran suffered a "terrible" incident during a tour of duty in Iraq and needs treatment, not jail.

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement that Gonzalez "is lucky to be alive." Judge Rosemary Collyer spent almost 90 minutes questioning Gonzalez to make sure he knew he was waiving his rights to a trial and an appeal.

Gonzalez breached the secure grounds of the White House on Sept. 19, storming past guards and making it all the way to the East Room. He had a knife on him when he was tackled and arrested, and officers found a machete and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his car, authorities said.

A Secret Service review has detailed a string of failures in the incident, and the breach led in part to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. Acting Secret Service director Joseph Clancey said at a congressional hearing that he was troubled by a range of shortcomings allowed Gonzalez to enter the White House practically unimpeded.

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