Gregory Lee Leingang has pleaded guilty in a plan to harm President Donald Trump.
Leingang, 42, admitted to prosecutors that he stole a forklift on September 6, 2017, the day the president visited Mandan, North Dakota. The plan had been to try to flip the president’s limousine. But he got stuck while trying to move the forklift close to the motorcade. He abandoned the forklift and tried to run from the scene.
Leingang was quickly arrested and confessed his plan to police and the Secret Service. He’s due to be sentenced in federal court on February 15, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Greg Leingang Was Charged in Federal Court in October 2017
The case was filed October 4, 2017, in federal court. Leigang was indicted on two charges. The first was “Attempt to Enter or Remain in a Restricted Building and on Grounds While Using a Dangerous Weapon.”
President Trump was scheduled to speak at the Mandan Refinery on September 6, 2017. Prosecutors said Leingang stole the forklift and moved it into the motorcade’s route. But he was blocked at a gate and could not move the vehicle further, prompting him to abandon the vehicle and try to run. The forklift was described in the court document as a dangerous weapon.
The second charge was “Attempt to Damage Government Property.” The indictment states that Leingang “did willfully attempt to injure property of the United States, that is, the President of the United States limousine.” Leigang was not charged with any crimes related to assault or attempted murder, presumably because he was unsuccessful in his attempts to get close to the limousine.
2. Defense: Leingang was Suffering From Psychiatric Issues At the Time of the Crime
Gregory Leingang told the court during his plea hearing that he had suffered from psychiatric problems for most of his life. According to the Grand Forks Herald, he told the judge that he was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Michelle Monteiro, his public defender, also said in court that Leingang had been “suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident.” Stealing the forklift with the intention of flipping President Trump’s limousine was only one of several crimes committed that day.
The newspaper reported that Leingang had also confessed to setting two fires that day. One fire was set at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark and the other at a state parole office.
3. Leingang Was Already Sentenced to 20 Years in State Prison
In addition to the federal case, Leingang has also faced a state court. According to the Bismarck Tribune, he pleaded guilty to several charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He received a 10-year term for setting the two fires on the same day as the forklift incident. He was sentenced to five years for stealing the forklift. Leingang also confessed to a separate burglary case and received another five years for that.
According to online records, Leingang is being held at the North Dakota State Penitentiary. His release state is listed as September 15, 2038.
4. Leingang Agreed to Plead Guilty to One of the Two Federal Charges
Gregory Lee Leingang was scheduled to go to trial in January of 2019, according to federal records. The maximum sentence for the first charge, Attempt to Enter or Remain in a Restricted Building and on Grounds While Using a Dangerous Weapon, was 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Leingang and his defense team ultimately decided to avoid a trial by jury. A plea deal was agreed upon and entered into the court record on November 1, 2018. A hearing was held November 30, 2018, when Leingang officially pleaded guilty before a judge. As part of the agreement, the prosecution agreed to “recommend a sentence of time served concurrent to state sentences.”
As mentioned above, a sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February 15, 2019. According to his public defender, Michelle Monteiro, Leingang is also participating in therapy during his time behind bars.
5. Leingang is a North Dakota Native
Gregory Lee Leingang is a North Dakota native. He was living in the Bismarck area at the time of his arrest.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Greg Leingang worked as an autobody tech and linked to a Linkedin page of a different man of the same name. There’s no connection between the two men.