A North Dakota man has pleaded guilty to stealing a forklift and planning to ‘kill’ President Trump by flipping over his limousine.
Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, was arrested in September last year after stealing the machinery and trying to drive it into the President’s motorcade route in Mandan, where Trump was due to give a speech.
On Friday Leingang pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to enter or remain in a restricted building and on grounds while using a dangerous weapon and one count of attempting to damage government property.
According to a copy of the plea agreement, Leingang knowingly entered and remained in a restricted area, “that is, the Mandan Refinery and its grounds and presidential motorcade route . . . and in relation to the offense, did use a deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a forklift.”
“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,” U.S. Assistant State’s Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell said, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
However, Leingang’s strange plan went awry after he abandoned the forklift and was caught by police as he tried to run away, authorities said. He later admitted to police that he wanted to use the forklift to kill Trump.
The arrest capped off a string of crimes Leingang committed in the region that day, according to Mandan Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten.
Earlier that morning, Leingang had set two fires in Bismarck, on the other side of the Missouri River, and had stolen a truck from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, Flaten said.
Leingang later abandoned the truck, then crossed the river over to Mandan and made his way to a sports complex under construction near the Mandan oil refinery – “which is where he got the forklift,” Flaten said.
Leingang pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of “attempting to enter or remain in a restricted building and on grounds while using a dangerous weapon,” according to court records. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 15, 2019.
Public defender Michelle Ann Monteiro told the court that Leingang was “suffering a serious psychiatric crisis” during the forklift incident and has been responding well to psychiatric treatment and therapy in prison, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Leingang also pleaded guilty to setting the two fires in Bismarck and to stealing the forklift, as well as to a separate burglary, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for those crimes, the newspaper reported.
Monteiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.
In June 2016, a British man allegedly tried to steal a police officer’s gun to kill Trump – then a candidate in the Republican presidential primary – at a rally in Las Vegas.