NEW YORK (AP) — An upstate New York man charged earlier this year with threatening former President George W. Bush was sentenced Friday to time served and six months home confinement on a gun charge.
Benjamin Smith, 45, of Pittsford, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein, who said he ordered a term of home confinement in part to ensure Smith continues to get mental health treatment.
Smith was originally charged with threatening Bush after authorities said he was taken into custody and spontaneously screamed: “Bush will get his!”
He pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon after he was found in Manhattan in late January in a car with a loaded rifle, two boxes of ammunition and a machete. Authorities located him by tracing his cellphone after his mother became alarmed after finding a note at home.
In a sentencing memorandum and in court, prosecutors acknowledged that they believed Smith’s conduct stemmed from mental health problems.
In a sentencing memorandum, defense attorney David Wikstrom said it was clear his client requires mental-health treatment and monitoring and that he must strictly maintain his regimen of medication.
Authorities said his mother had reported that Smith became depressed and stopped taking his medications shortly before he left a rambling note and drove to New York City.
In court Friday, Wikstrom said Smith, a former teacher, was a “very polite, gentle, well-spoken man when he’s undergoing treatment.”
Smith was not immediately freed because he faces a charge of violating his probation after a previous conviction.
Before he was sentenced, Smith said he wanted to apologize to the court and anyone he might have offended.