US judge to climb Statue of Liberty before sentencing protester

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A US federal judge has received permission to climb the Statue of Liberty before sentencing the protester who illegally scrambled up the iconic monument last year.

US Judge Gabriel Gorenstein is handling the case of Therese Patricia Okoumou, who was found guilty in December of misdemeanor charges for climbing up to the base of the iconic statue to protest US immigration policies on July 4 – US Independence Day – 2018.

Okoumou, a New York resident of Congolese descent, said she was moved by the separation of families on the US-Mexico border, and climbed the monument following a protest calling for the disbanding of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) law enforcement agency.

Okoumou’s action made headline news, with news helicopters hovering for hours as New York City cops and US Park Police struggled to pull her down.

Judge Gorenstein said he wanted to visit the statue “to better appreciate the risks or hazards created by the defendant’s conduct,” NBC-4 New York reported Friday.

Furthermore, “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,” read Gorenstein’s order, issued on Wednesday.

The National Park Service on Friday agreed to the request. A date for the visit has yet to be set.

Okoumou, a New York resident of Congolese descent, faces up to 18 months in prison for her protest action.