NEW YORK – A 21-year-old Yale student, posing as a volunteer at the Republican National Convention (search), got within 10 feet of Vice President Dick Cheney (search) and shouted anti-war statements before being dragged away, authorities said Tuesday.
Secret Service Agent Shannon Zeigler said Cheney "was never in any harm or danger" during the incident Monday night in Madison Square Garden. The suspect, Thomas Frampton, was charged with assaulting federal officers and impeding the operation of the Secret Service (search).
Frampton was released on $50,000 bail and told to stay 100 feet from Cheney and President Bush. He also was ordered to give back a red convention volunteer's shirt he used to get into the arena, along with any convention passes.
A complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan said Secret Service agents spotted Frampton carrying a "Bush-Cheney '04" placard on the walkway behind Cheney's box at 9:30 p.m. Monday. One agent instructed him to keep moving.
Frampton began to move away, then turned back in the direction of Cheney's box and began shouting anti-Bush administration slogans. He then started to climb over a low wall separating Cheney's box from the walkway and got within 10 feet of Cheney before the Secret Service agents tried to restrain him.
As the agents grabbed him, Frampton swung his right elbow in the direction of one agent, the court papers said. He continued to struggle with the agents and shout at Cheney as he was dragged away and handcuffed, the complaint said.
Federal prosecutor John M. Hillebrecht said Frampton went through elaborate efforts to get close to Cheney, including going through training sessions with convention organizers, "all the while masquerading as a Republican supporter of the president."
Defense attorney Henry E. Mazurek described Frampton as a model citizen and Yale junior with a near-perfect grade-point average. Frampton's father is a partner at a New York law firm and mother is a professional photographer in Washington, Mazurek said. Frampton was scheduled to begin classes on Wednesday, Mazurek said.