A 61-year-old man has been charged with two offenses after he allegedly landed a "gyro copter" on the U.S. Capitol's lawn. The man, who is a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, is facing charges for violating national defense airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft. He was arrested after he reportedly landed the small, open-cockpit helicopter on the grounds of the Capitol.
The man allegedly told the Tampa Bay Times that he wanted to give members of Congress letters about campaign finance reform. A spokesman for the White House said that the man did not indicate any desire to hurt anyone and that the individual’s intent was relevant.
Man Faces Four Years in Prison for Flight Landing
The two charges carry a possible penalty of up to four years in prison. After the man landed, the police had to close streets that were located near the Capitol building while they completed their investigation and had the helicopter removed. He was arrested and has appeared in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The only words he spoke were to confirm his name and to accept his release conditions.
Man Is Released and Can Return to Florida
The man has been released, and the government didn't oppose it. He has several conditions that must be met, including surrendering his expired passport, staying away from the White House and the U.S. Capitol and reporting each week to a Tampa pretrial office. He will also be on home detention while in his home in Ruskin, Florida. He is to return to Washington D.C. on May 8 for a preliminary hearing.
The federal charges this man faces are serious. All federal crimes are prosecuted as criminal cases and in federal court. Punishments for federal charges can include federal jail time, loss of employment and heavy fines. Some other examples of federal crimes include bank fraud, racketeering, tax evasion and forgery. Federal crimes are more severe than crimes prosecuted at the state level. Those who are facing federal charges need an attorney experienced in federal defense.
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