What to Know
- Therese "Patricia" Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4 to protest the border separation of children from parents
- At her trial Monday, she got choked up as she testified, saying the images gave her nightmares
- Okoumou was convicted of misdemeanor charges. The charges include trespassing and carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in prison
A woman who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on July 4 to protest the separation of families at the Mexican border has been convicted of misdemeanor charges.
Therese Okoumou got choked up as she testified Monday before a federal magistrate judge at her trial. She said images from the border gave her nightmares. Judge Gabriel Gorenstein announced the verdict a short time later.
The prosecutor says Okoumou endangered herself, rescuers and thousands of Liberty Island visitors when she climbed to the feet of the statue. Authorities evacuated the island.
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Okoumou testified that she couldn't live with the sight of "children in cages" without bringing the issue to a wider audience.
The charges include trespassing and carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in prison.
In a statement on Monday, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman maintained that the "act of climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty went well beyond peacable protest, a right we certainly respect."
"It was a crime that put people at grave risk," he said. "We commend Judge Gorenstein's decision to hold... Okoumou accountable for her dangerous and reckless conduct."
Okoumou's pre-sentencing date has been set for March 5. She will be free without bail until then.