Opera singer accepts insanity plea in Mar-A-Lago Breach | Florida News

By TERRY SPENCER, Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Connecticut opera singer who was shot by law enforcement when she sped through a checkpoint outside the Mar-a-Lago home of President Donald Trump in Florida two years ago was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Tuesday.

Florida prosecutors and Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer accepted Hannah Roemhild’s plea during a three-minute hearing with the 32-year-old singer appearing via Zoom from her home state.

Federal prosecutors agreed to a similar plea deal in August. Her lawyers said she had a history of mental illness and stopped taking her medication before her mad dash to Palm Beach on January 31, 2020.

She had been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing arrest and resisting an officer without violence.

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Roemhild only spoke to acknowledge his presence at the West Palm Beach hearing. Under the terms of the agreement, mirroring those of the federal case, she must undergo psychiatric treatment and counseling and take medication, with monthly blood tests to confirm compliance.

Prosecutors agreed that Roemhild “does not create a substantial risk of injury to herself or others.”

Under Florida law, a person can only be found not guilty by reason of insanity if, due to mental illness, they did not know what they were doing or its consequences, or did not know that it was wrong.

Roemhild came to the attention of law enforcement after pulling a rental Jeep into the parking lot of The Breakers, a luxury hotel about 5 miles north of Mar-a-Lago on Ocean Boulevard, records show. judicial. She climbed onto the roof of the Jeep and started waving at the guests and making obscene gestures. Hotel employees summoned Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Tony Kingery, who worked as a security guard at the hotel.

When he arrived in his patrol car with his hazard lights on, Roemhild was sitting in his Jeep and tried to drive away despite his stop orders. Kingery smashed the driver’s window with his baton, but she sped onto Ocean and headed south, driving dangerously through the downtown Palm Beach shopping district, with the sergeant unable to follow her, according to court documents.

She quickly reached the checkpoints that had been set up around Mar-a-Lago in anticipation of Trump’s arrival later that day. She zigzagged around the barriers and narrowly missed hitting two Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies and a Secret Service agent as she sped through the restricted area. They opened fire, smashing her rear window, but Roemhild was unhurt.

She then drove to nearby Palm Beach International Airport to pick up her mother, who had just arrived. The two then drove to a nearby motel, where Roemhild was arrested as she tried to flee from officers in her room. She told them she was trying to escape people who were trying to kill her.

Mar-a-Lago has been the scene of several intrusions during Trump’s four-year term.

In August 2020, three teenagers fleeing police while carrying a semi-automatic pistol in a backpack jumped a wall in Mar-a-Lago, but police did not believe they knew where they were.

In March 2019, Chinese national Yujing Zhang gained access to Mar-a-Lago while carrying a laptop, phones and other electronic equipment. This led to initial speculation that the 33-year-old Shanghai businesswoman might be a spy, but she was never charged with espionage. Text messages she exchanged with a trip organizer said she was a fan of the president and wanted to meet with him or his family to discuss possible deals. She was found guilty of trespassing and expelled.

In December 2019, club security officers confronted another Chinese national, Jing Lu, 56, for trespassing and told her to leave, but she returned to take pictures. Lu was charged with loitering and resisting an officer without violence after taking photos while entering a service entrance. She was later acquitted of trespassing but guilty of resisting arrest.

On Thanksgiving weekend 2018, a University of Wisconsin student visiting the area with his parents walked into Mar-a-Lago mingling with a group that was entering. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

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