A North Dakota mechanic has entered a guilty plea in federal court in relation to what the government charged was a plot to kill the president.
According to federal authorities, Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, of Bismarck, stole a forklift and entered a presidential motorcade route on Sept. 6, 2017, before Donald Trump arrived to give a tax reform speech at a Mandan Refinery.
“The intent was to basically try to get to the limo, flip the limo and kill the president,” U.S. Assistant State’s Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell told a federal court on Friday, according to The Bismarck Tribune..
Prior to the president’s arrival at around 2 p.m., Leingang had stolen a forklift in Mandan and entered the motorcade route, according to Sasse Russell.
Ultimately, the forklift got stuck in a gated area, and, once that happened, Leingang fled and was apprehended by Mandan police, according to Sasse Russell. She said Leingang later admitted his plan to Mandan detectives, as well as a member of United States Secret Service.
“He was suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident,” Michelle Monteiro, Leingang’s public defender, said in court.
Prior to stealing the forklift, Leingang set two fires that morning at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark maintenance shop and the state parole and probation office, Monteiro said.
Leingang pleaded guilty to setting the fires and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. He also pleaded guilty to stealing the forklift and was sentenced to five years, and, pleaded guilty to burglary in a separate case and received another five years. Leingang’s estimated release date is 2038.