Published November 20, 2014
For the curious looking to snap a picture or wander the grounds where the daughter of a former president and a sitting secretary of state is expected to get married, police have some advice: Cut it out or face arrest.
State troopers working with the U.S. Secret Service say they have gotten more calls than usual related to the posh Astor Estate in Rhinebeck, an upstate town where two Norwegian journalists were charged with trespassing as they snapped photos at the estate's gate. The journalists were on assignment, covering Chelsea Clinton's expected wedding at the estate for the Oslo newspaper Verdens Gang.
State police Maj. Michael A. Kopy said officers will be diligent about keeping the estate secure.
"We're aware of the visit by the former president of the United States and are working with the U.S. Secret Service as we do with all visits by protectees of the Secret Service," Kopy said. "We're responding to calls (around the estate). Anybody who is located on the grounds of the estate will be arrested and prosecuted."
Just ask Thomas Bjorn Nilsson and Kjerste Sortland. They were charged with a violation after they were stopped Wednesday afternoon on the estate, in a picturesque town along the Hudson River, 90 miles north of New York City, police said.
Kopy said Nilsson, a photographer based in New York City, and Sortland, an editor based in Norway, identified themselves as journalists and were taking pictures. He didn't know if the images were confiscated and wasn't aware whether they mentioned the Clinton wedding.
The two arrested journalists are due in court Aug. 12.
Reached in Oslo, Helje Solberg, managing editor at Verdens Gang, told The Associated Press police went overboard when Nilsson and Sortland tried to take pictures of the gate. She said they were not on the property.
"We did not realize it was forbidden to take the picture of the gate of the house where the Clinton wedding is to be," she said.
Solberg said the paper will pay the fine — in New York, trespassing is a violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or a fine up to $250 — even though "we see this as an overreaction."
"The Clinton wedding has a public interest," Solberg said.
The estate was designed by renowned architect Stanford White for John Jacob Astor IV, the early 20th-century millionaire who died when the Titanic went down. It recently was on the market for $12 million, real estate agents said.
Rhinebeck, a town of about 8,000 residents, is just 75 miles from the Chappaqua, N.Y., home the former president and first lady bought before her successful run for the U.S. Senate in 2000. The Clintons have passed through the town a number of times.
An e-mail to a spokesman for the former president wasn't immediately returned. The Secret Service would have no comment, spokesman Ed Donovan said.