Judge in Case of Lady Liberty Climber Visits Statue With Protester Ahead of Bail Revocation Hearing Friday

Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein is presiding over the case of statue climber Therese Okoumou

What to Know

  • The federal judge presiding over the case of the protester who climbed the Statue of Liberty last year took a trip to the landmark himself
  • The judge said he wanted to visit the statue "to better appreciate the risks or hazards created by the defendant's conduct"
  • The judge was accompanied by the protester herself. Chopper 4 video showed the two standing on the base of the statue

The federal judge presiding over the case of the protester who climbed the Statue of Liberty last year took a trip to the landmark on Wednesday — accompanied by the protester herself. 

Therese Okoumou was found guilty of misdemeanor charges in December after her protest climb of the Statue of Liberty last July 4.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein, who will be sentencing Okoumou, said he wanted to visit the statue “to better appreciate the risks or hazards created by defendant’s conduct.”

“Additionally, if it were deemed possible and safe, the Court would like a ladder to be made available so the Court (and counsel if requested) can view, while remaining on the ladder, the surface of the area where the defendant was situated on July 4, 2018,” he said in an order.

Chopper 4 video shows Judge Gorenstein and Okoumou standing on the base of the statue with a group on Wednesday morning. The judge didn't, however, appear to climb a ladder during the viewing. 

The judge's visit came a day after prosecutors sent him a letter asking for a hearing to decide whether Okoumou’s bail should be revoked following her arrest in Texas on Feb. 20.

Okoumou was arrested for criminal trespass in Travis County after she climbed a building and hung a banner that said “Abolish ICE” on it to protest federal immigration policy.

Okoumou refused to come down for around eight hours, prosecutors wrote, adding that “no condition or combination of conditions [would] assure that Okoumou will not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community.”

In their own letter, however, Okoumou’s attorneys argued revoking her bail wasn’t necessary, as the community wasn’t “imperiled by the possibility that Ms. Okoumou may climb again.”

“In order to incarcerate Ms. Okoumou, this Court must find that she is ‘unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release,’” they wrote.

“One protest episode over the past seven months of pre-trial release, taking place in a remote jurisdiction, resulting in the possibility of a B-Misdemeanor charge, does not establish that Ms. Okoumou is unlikely to comply with her release conditions until her March 19th sentencing,” they added.

A bail revocation hearing has been set for Friday, March 1.

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