SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The South Bay man arrested after allegedly breaching White House security admitted to being “troubled” Thursday when a KPIX 5 reporter spoke exclusively with him after he left a San Jose courthouse.
Jonathan Tran walked out of an office at the federal courthouse in San Jose Thursday, almost a week after his March 11 arrest for allegedly jumping the White House fence in an attempt to visit President Donald Trump.
Tran — who was recently laid off from his engineering job — smiled at times and even gave a thumbs up as he left the courthouse.
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The courthouse visit on Thursday was scheduled for Tran to be fitted with a GPS monitoring device. He is charged with entering restricted grounds while carrying a dangerous weapon.
He faces up to 10 years in prison.
When he was taken into custody by a member of the Secret Service, Tran was carrying a letter to the President about “Russian hackers.” He also had two spray cans of Mace and his passport.
KPIX 5 reporter Maria Medina spoke exclusively with Tran after he left the courthouse Thursday. When she asked how he felt about President Trump calling him a “troubled person,” he admitted it was true.
“I don’t deny that,” said Tran with a shrug.
When she asked exactly what he was doing at the White House, he replied that he “just wanted attention.”
Tran allegedly told secret service who stopped him he was “a friend of the president’s.” Some have called the Milpitas man schizophrenic.
His success in getting so close to the White House has raised questions about security.
Medina asked him if he had anything to say to the President, but Tran’s reply was non committal.
“No, not really,” he said.
When Medina asked if he was planning to just talk to President Trump or harm him, his response was more cryptic.
“I don’t know. No comment,” Tran said with a nervous laugh. “No comment.”
A judge ordered Tran to undergo a mental evaluation back here in the Bay area.
He is expected to return to Washington D.C. next month for a court appearance. This time, he will likely have an attorney by his side.