In June, Michael Steven Sandford reached for a police officer's gun at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas. After his arrest, he reportedly told Secret Service agents he planned to kill Trump and would try again if he were released from custody.
Sandford was sentenced to one year and one day in prison on Tuesday, meaning that, with credit for time already served and good behavior, he could be released as early as April. But it seems highly unlikely that the would-be assassin, who has been diagnosed with obsession-compulsion, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorders and was on the anti-psychotic medication Risperidone at the time of the incident, will make good on his promise to try again.
"I know saying sorry is not enough," Sandford said during his sentencing. "I really do feel awful about what I did. I wish there was some way to make things better. I have cost taxpayers so much money. I feel terrible."
Those pleas did not fall on deaf ears. Judge James Mahan told Sandford:
"You have a medical problem. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed about it. You need medication ... You're not a hardened criminal. You're not evil or a sociopath like a lot of people we have. I don't think you wanted to kill anybody. This was just some crazy stunt that your mind told you to do."
Sandford pleaded guilty in September to being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function. Stanford, a citizen of England, will be deported after completing his prison sentence.
"You're not alone," Mahan reiterated. "There are people out there who care about you. It's important you stay on your medication," the judge told Sandford. "Your family's waiting for you. You want to get back to England."
In the meantime, Sandford's mother, Lynne, is concerned with the conditions of his confinement. "During my visit to Las Vegas, I learned that Michael had been on suicide watch several times following numerous mental breakdowns," she wrote on the family's crowdfunding page to raise funds for her son's defense. "'Suicide watch' in the US involves being kept in isolation 24/7 for up to a week at a time. Other prisoners are allowed books, but these are taken away from Michael while he is in isolation. Michael isn't even allowed toilet paper while he is in isolation."