The woman who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July to protest Donald Trump‘s immigration policies was found guilty of three misdemeanor counts of trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct on Monday.
Therese Patricia Okoumou climbed onto The Statue of Liberty’s right foot and refused to come down. The incident forced authorities to evacuate Liberty Island.
“The result today was not surprising, but sometimes you have to stand on principle,” Michael Avenatti, Okoumou’s attorney, said. “And history will be incredibly kind to Patricia.”
According to WABC, Okoumou testified on her own behalf and got choked up, saying images of parents being separated from children at the border gave her nightmares. She said that couldn’t live with the sight of “children in cages” without bringing the issue to a wider audience.
“Instead of treating them with kindness, what we’ve shown them is cages,” she said after court. “So if I go in the cage with them, I am on the right side of history. I do not regret my actions on the Fourth of July.”
Prosecutors argued that Okoumou endangered herself, rescuers and thousands of tourists when she climbed the statue’s base. A police officer also testified that Okoumou threatened to push over a ladder if the officer got any closer.
“Therese Okoumou was convicted in federal court today for a dangerous stunt last July 4th that endangered herself and the NYPD and U.S. Park Police officers who rescued and apprehended her,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “
The act of climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty went well beyond peaceable protest, a right we certainly respect. It was a crime that put people at grave risk. We commend Judge (Gabriel) Gorenstein’s decision to hold Therese Okoumou accountable for her dangerous and reckless conduct.”
She faces up to 18 months in federal prison and will be sentenced on March 5.