A North Dakota man faces decades in prison after pleading guilty to stealing a forklift to “flip” President Donald Trump’s limousine and kill him when the president made a trip to the state last year.
Police said Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, didn’t get far with the forklift he took from a Mandan construction site on Sept. 6, 2017: Leingang was arrested as he headed to an oil refinery the president was visiting, the Washington Post reports.
“The intent was to basically try to get to the limo, flip the limo and get to the president and he wanted to kill the president,” Russell said, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Earlier in the day, Leingang set fires and stole a truck in Bismarck, the state capital across the Missouri River from Mandan, according to police.
“He got around that day,” Mandan Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten said, according to the Post.
But Flaten said Leingang’s intentions only became clear when police and Secret Service questioned him.
“It wasn’t until later, during interviews of him, that we found out that was his intention [to kill the president], not that he was stealing a forklift for transportation,” Flaten said, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, the president spoke to a large crowd at the oil facility, praising North Dakota’s energy industry and promoting his plan to cut taxes, which has since become law.
“I want all of America to be inspired by what’s happened in North Dakota and the North Dakota example,” Trump said, according to the Fargo Forum. “This state is a reminder of what can happen when we promote American jobs instead of obstructing American jobs.”
Leingang and his attorney told a federal judge on Friday that a therapist and psychiatrist are treating him while he’s incarcerated, and that his mental condition has improved, the Tribune reported. He also said he has been medicated for bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder since he was 12 years old.
“He was suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident,” said Michelle Monteiro, his public defender, according to the Tribune.
Leingang will be sentenced on the forklift-related charge next year, according to the Tribune.
Leignang had faced charges in federal court of trying to enter a restricted building while using a dangerous weapon, and trying to damage government property — but Leignang’s plea agreement with prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty just to entering a restricted building and or grounds while using a “deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a forklift,” according to court records.
Court records said the maximum sentence for the charge is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 find and three years supervised release.
In April, Leingang was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to setting fire to a Bismarck ballpark and a state parole and probation office on the same day the forklift was stolen, the Tribune reported.