US & Canada

Michael Sandford denies Donald Trump rally gun charge

Police remove Michael Sandford at the Donald Trump rally Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Sandford was detained at the Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas

A British man has denied attempting to grab a policeman's gun at a rally for the Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump in Las Vegas.

Michael Sandford, 20, from Dorking, in Surrey, appeared in court in Las Vegas accused of trying to snatch the weapon during a rally on 18 June.

According to court documents, he told police he had wanted to kill Mr Trump.

Mr Sandford, who pleaded not guilty to three charges, was remanded in custody and is due to stand trial on 22 August.

Dressed in a yellow prison uniform and wearing leg irons, he pleaded not guilty to one charge of disrupting government business and official functions and two charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a gun.

Federal court

Appearing at a federal court in Las Vegas, Mr Sandford stood to confirm his name and age to US magistrate judge Cam Ferenbach.

After the charges were read our, the judge asked him: "Do you understand the nature of the charges against you?"

Mr Sandford replied: "Yes I do."

The judge asked: "How do you plead?" To which he replied: "Not guilty".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Donald Trump is the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee

According to a complaint lodged with the US district court in Nevada, Mr Sandford told a policeman at the rally that he wanted Mr Trump's autograph before he attempted to seize the officer's gun.

Asked during a police interview why he had attempted to grab the weapon, he allegedly replied: "To shoot and kill Donald Trump."

According to the court papers, Mr Sandford said he had never fired a gun before but went to a range in Las Vegas on 17 June to learn how to shoot.

Mr Sandford - who had been living in the US for around 18 months - allegedly told investigators he expected to die in the attempt, which he had been planning for a year.

It comes as his mother Lynne Sandford called for him to be returned to the UK.

She said she want him to be deported "so he could be back in this country and get psychiatric help".

If convicted, Mr Sandford, who has Asperger's syndrome, could face up to 10 years in prison.

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