British mom wins US judge OK to see son held in Trump threat

By KEN RITTER - Associated Press ,

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Police remove Michael Sandford as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Police remove Michael Sandford as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas. (Photo: John Locher)

The mother of a British man accused of trying to grab a police officer's gun to shoot Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign event in Las Vegas won approval from a judge on Tuesday to visit her son in federal custody in Nevada.

Lynne Sandford of Dorking, England, wasn't in court for a hearing at which Michael Steven Sandford's defense attorney, Brenda Weksler, said he was in a "delicate mental state."

In court filings, Weksler has said her client has been on suicide watch. He's being held at a U.S. government detention center west of Las Vegas.

Sandford, who was 20 when he was arrested June 18, didn't speak in court. His trial is scheduled Oct. 3.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach characterized the case as unique because of Sandford's age, the nature of the charges and the "context" of the alleged offense.

Authorities say Sandford grabbed for a Las Vegas police officer's gun and later told federal agents that he drove from California to Las Vegas with a plan to kill Trump.

Prosecutors say he also said he practiced shooting at a gun range the day before Trump's appearance.

It wasn't clear if Trump, on stage at the Treasure Island hotel-casino, recognized a threat before officers escorted Sandford out of the 1,500-seat theater.

Ferenbach said letting Lynne Sandford and a London lawyer, Saimo Chahal, meet with Weksler and Michael Sandford "might help in the resolution of the case in a way that benefits the defendant and the government."

A date for the visit wasn't immediately set, and won't be made public in the court record.

Prosecutor Jared Grimmer said the government didn't oppose a visit.

In Britain, Chahal has said she hopes to convince authorities to let Michael Sandford return to England instead of facing trial in the U.S.

His family and attorneys say he has Asperger's syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression; that he previously attempted suicide and was treated for anorexia; and that he once ran away from a hospital in England.

He told a judge at a previous hearing that he understands the charges against him.

Sandford has pleaded not guilty to disrupting an official function and weapon possession charges that could get him up to 30 years in U.S. prison if he's convicted.

Officials said he lived for a time in New Jersey, and that he overstayed his visa-waiver stay in the U.S. by about nine months.

-AP

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