23-Year-Old Accused of Scaling a White House Fence

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 11, 2015

Controversy surrounds the actions of 23-year -old Joseph Caputo who attempted to jump the White House fence on Thanksgiving Day.

A lawyer (Stephan Seeger)for Caputo, the flag-draped 23-year-old accused of scaling a White House fence, told NBC News Sunday that his client was a “politically-conscious young man” who was simply trying to “deliver a message.”

The White House was on lockdown for a while Thursday while President Barack Obama and his family were inside the residence for the holiday, authorities said.

Caputo was apprehended about 2:45 p.m. ET on the North Lawn of the White House grounds — the “front door” side along Pennsylvania Avenue and was carrying a manila folder…

The message inside that folder addressed the issues of education, the judiciary, and the legal system and it was written for the government to see.

However, the court documents are stating otherwise, stating that the folder have had a suicide note – something vastly different than what Caputo’s lawyer is arguing and something that is said  “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Caputo’s words,” the Seeger said, “had been mischaracterized.”

“Joe wanted to let his family know that if something did happen, there was a range of possibilities,” Seeger said.

“One possibility would be that he’d be arrested. He used some words that were construed as he would be harmed. He had no intention of taking his own life.”

Seeger acknowledged that Caputo’s “manner of delivery” may have been “alarming,” but he attributed that alarm to a “climate of fear.”

“If someone does something unorthodox, it’s automatically a threat,” he said.

Caputo, who was taken into custody by the Secret Service, was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Seeger said Caputo has a history of Asperger’s Syndrome (a condition on the mild side of the autism spectrum) that he has “battled fairly successfully,” — though it was unclear if it had played any role in his decision to jump the fence.

The incident comes amid heightened security measures after an Army veteran pleaded guilty to scaling a White House fence with a folding knife last year.

*Thank you to NBC News for the original story and quotes.



Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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