WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Tuesday delayed the arraignment of an alleged White House fence-jumper because of questions about his mental competence to stand trial.
Omar Gonzalez was brought to court to enter a not-guilty plea to a six-count grand jury indictment accusing him of carrying a knife into the presidential mansion and assaulting two Secret Service officers.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said she wants Gonzalez to undergo a mental health competency evaluation before allowing the case to proceed. An earlier mental health screening raised the competency question.
Given the federal prison system's crowded conditions, it could take weeks to complete an evaluation.
Gonzalez's attorney, David Bos, maintains that his client is competent to stand trial.
After he was apprehended in the White House on Sept. 19, Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent that he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the president so that he could get the word out.
Following his arrest, Gonzalez consented to a search of his car, which contained hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete.
The grand jury indictment accuses Gonzalez of unlawful possession of nine different types of ammunition without a valid registration certificate for a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
The Gonzalez case is one of several security breaches that led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.