Man Who Brought Pistol to Bush Rally Is Sentenced
A paralegal worker who plotted a “symbolic assassination” of President Bush just before the November election was sentenced Monday to time served for bringing a starter pistol to a Bush rally in Woodland Hills.
John Arthur Junot was sentenced to four months in prison, but he faces immediate release because he has already served five months. He also was ordered to pay a $250 fine and $1,000 to cover the cost of his three-year supervision after his release.
“You are a very bright individual, but between the left ear and the right ear something’s gone astray,” U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian said during the sentencing.
Junot, 40, told a psychologist that he wanted to fire the non-lethal pistol near Bush in Warner Park on Nov. 6 to “remind Americans of Bush’s mortality and the consequences of (Vice President Dan) Quayle’s inadequacies.”
Junot was standing about 50 yards from the corner of the stage where Bush was speaking when witnesses saw him drop the starter pistol.
After a one-day, non-jury trial, Tevrizian convicted Junot on Jan. 18 of one count of disruptive conduct in an area protected by the Secret Service and one count of interfering with the Secret Service.
“This is not a joke,” Tevrizian told Junot, who works at a Los Angeles legal aid office. “This is serious business. . . . I don’t believe in social protest where anyone is threatened with violence or where violence occurs.”
Defense lawyer Terry Amdur, seeking probation for Junot, noted a psychiatrist’s report that describes Junot as an “activist, protester and angry young man” capable of channeling his intelligence into socially redeeming activities.
“He didn’t attempt to harm anyone,” Amdur said. “He attempted to make a political statement. He now realizes that was ill-advised.”
Assistant U.S. Atty. Adam B. Schiff said Junot is “dangerous not because he intends to be dangerous, but because he’s willing to do whatever is required to make his political statement.”