A New York woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty to protest the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy was found guilty of three misdemeanor counts on Monday ― but said she’d do it all again if given the chance.
Therese “Patricia” Okoumou faces up to 18 months in federal prison after being found guilty of trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct following the July 4th stunt along the iconic statue’s base. She will be sentenced on March 5, ABC 7 News reported.
Okoumu pleaded not guilty to the charges before Federal Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein. She said she was motivated to take a public stand on behalf of immigrant children who were separated from their families and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.
“Unfortunately, as long as our children are being placed in cages my moral values call for me to do something about it,” Okoumou testified in Manhattan Federal Court on Monday, according to the New York Daily News.
Prosecutors argued that she put not only herself at risk, but first responders as well.
“The act of climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty went well beyond peaceable protest, a right we certainly respect,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “It was a crime that put people at grave risk. We commend Judge Gorenstein’s decision to hold Therese Okoumou accountable for her dangerous and reckless conduct.”
When asked by her attorney Ron Kuby if she would do it again, Okoumou reportedly replied: “Yes.”
Okoumou told reporters after the hearing that she does not regret her action and believes she is “on the right side of history.”
“Our laws sometimes lack morality and this is the perfect example of that,” she said.
She was echoed by another one of her attorneys, Michael Avenatti, who’s perhaps best known for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
“The result today was not surprising but sometimes you have to stand on principle,” Avenatti said, “and history will be incredibly kind to Patricia.”