Woman who threw shoe at Hillary Clinton to stay in Arizona
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A woman who threw a shoe at Hillary Rodham Clinton during a speech the former secretary of state made in Las Vegas last April has been sentenced to one year of federal supervision in her home state of Arizona, her defense attorney said Tuesday.
Alison Michelle Ernst, 37, of Phoenix, also was sentenced Monday to undergo mental health treatment at the discretion of probation officials, said William Carrico, the deputy federal public defender who handled her case.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. told Ernst to have no contact with Clinton or anyone protected by the Secret Service.
Ernst served six months in federal custody last year after throwing the shoe, raising her arms and walking to the back of a convention center ballroom at the Mandalay Bay resort where she was arrested.
“She didn’t mean harm,” Carrico said of his client, who he said has a history of mental illness and attention-getting incidents. “I think she wants to draw attention to herself.”
Prosecutor Kathryn Newman had said accusations against Ernst escalated from throwing a pill bottle over a White House fence to trying to visit Iran to talk with that country’s president to accusations that Ernst made a bomb threat on an airline flight to Qatar.
Carrico said airline officials in the latter case misinterpreted Ernst’s writings about the dangers of heavy metals and nuclear bomb-making.
Ernst pleaded guilty in Las Vegas to misdemeanor trespassing, and a misdemeanor charge of violence against a person in a restricted building was dismissed.
Clinton was onstage when Ernst threw a soccer shoe toward her. The former first lady and U.S. senator from New York expressed surprise but wasn’t struck by the shoe. She made a couple of jokes and continued her speech before more than 1,000 people at a recycling industry conference.
Ernst told an Associated Press reporter before security officers ushered reporters and photographers away that she threw the shoe.
The incident reminded some of an Iraqi journalist throwing shoes at former President George W. Bush during a Baghdad news conference in December 2008. Shoe-throwing is considered an insult in Arab cultures.
Clinton has Secret Service protection because former presidents and their spouses are covered for their lifetime.