18-Year-Old Just Wanted to See if He Could Get Into Mar-a-Lago

'Exceptionally foolish decision' brings probation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2019 5:34 PM CDT
18-Year-Old Posed as Member to Enter Mar-a-Lago Grounds
The Trumps were staying at Mar-a-Lago when an 18-year-old breached security.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

A college freshman wanted to see if he could get through security at Mar-a-Lago on Thanksgiving weekend while President Trump and his family were staying there. He could. Mark Lindblom "was wanded by Secret Service agents, and he walked on through," his lawyer told a federal magistrate Tuesday, the Palm Beach Post reports. The 18-year-old walked the grounds for 20 minutes, taking photos with his phone, before agents realized he wasn't a member and arrested him. Lindblom pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and was placed on probation for a year. He could have been sent to jail for six months.

Lindblom, a student at the University of Wisconsin who lives in Washington, DC, was visiting his grandparents, who belong to the Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club, when he walked the beach the club shares with Mar-a-Lago. Once at a tunnel that runs under a road, providing access from the beach to the club, his lawyer said, Lindblom joined a line of people waiting to be cleared by Secret Service agents. He apologized to the agents in court. "These men and women are dedicated to serve us and protect the president," Lindblom said, per the Post, "I’m so sorry for wasting their time." The prosecutor said an investigation found no reason to suspect any ill intent on Lindblom's part. It was just "an exceptionally foolish decision," his lawyer said. (An earlier breach raised security questions.)

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