A North Dakota man has admitted stealing a forklift as part of a bizarre plot to kill President Trump last year. US Assistant State's Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell says Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, stole the forklift and made his way to the motorcade route before Trump arrived to speak at a refinery in Mandan on Sept. 6, 2017, the Grand Forks Herald reports. "The intent was to basically try to get to the limo, flip the limo and get to the president and he wanted to kill the president," Sasse Russell told a federal court Friday. As part of a plea deal, Leingang admitted attempting to damage government property and "attempting to enter or remain in a restricted building and on grounds while using a dangerous weapon."
Leingang was arrested after the forklift became stuck in a gated area. Public defender Michelle Monteiro told the court the Bismarck resident was "suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident" and his mental health has improved after seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist in prison. She said Leingang pleaded guilty in state court to stealing the forklift and setting two fires the same morning. He received 15 years for those crimes and five years for an unrelated burglary charge. Leingang will be sentenced on the federal charges Feb. 15, and Sasse Russell says she is considering making the federal sentence concurrent to the time he is serving on the state charges. (In 2016, a British man who admitted plotting to kill Trump was sentenced to a year and a day in federal custody.)