The Fairborn man who jumped a metal railing in an effort to get on stage at a Donald Trump rally last Saturday at Dayton’s Wright Bros. Aero could face a year in federal prison.
Thomas DiMassimo, 22, was charged in Dayton’s District Court with entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so, according to court documents.
DiMassimo has been summoned to appear in federal court March 23. He is not in custody.
Federal prosecutors alleged that DiMassimo illegally “did knowingly enter and remain in a restricted building … cordoned off and otherwise restricted area where a person was protected by the Secret Service.”
DiMassimo will not be charged in state court, officials said.
“It’s clear that Thomas is simply a college student who, in his mind, was simply engaging in a form of political speech and making a statement, in his own mind,” said DiMassimo’s attorney, Jon Paul Rion.
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The federal crime DiMassimo is accused of carries a one-year maximum sentence after a conviction. If a weapon had been used or serious physical injuries had been suffered, there could have been a 10-year maximum.
But attorney Jon Paul Rion said his client, an acting major at Wright State University, doesn’t deserve prison time.
“No jail is necessary in a case like this. And probation or a fine is another way to resolve the matter as well,” Rion said. “He was not armed. He made no threats. He was compliant with law enforcement and has been respectful since that time.”
From his Twitter account, Trump thanked the United States Secret Service for “stopping the maniac running to the stage” and posted a video he said was of DiMassimo from YouTube, saying DiMassimo had ties to ISIS.
The video shows DiMassimo and several people dragging the American flag as part of a protest at Wright State. Added to the clips of the protest is a graphic of the ISIS flag and DiMassimo photo-shopped holding a gun, giving the impression he’s a supporter of the Islamic State. The doctored video appears to be a hoax.
“He is not a member of any organization” Rion said. “Those statements (about DiMassimo’s possible ties to ISIS) are completely without basis.”
DiMassimo was swarmed by Secret Service and other security officers as he reached the back of the stage and tried to scramble up, about 8 to 10 feet from where the Republican front runner was speaking to a large crowd in a hangar.
Trump was startled by the commotion, stopped his speech and was immediately surrounded by four Secret Service agents. After about 30 seconds, as the man was pinned to the ground and then led away, Trump returned to the podium, shaking his head. The crowd first booed and then started chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump,” and “USA, USA, USA.”
DiMassimo was released from the Montgomery County Jail on Saturday afternoon. He had been booked on pending charges of disorderly conduct and inducing panic.
Jay Maybruck of Dayton, who was at the Trump rally, said DiMassimo didn’t deserve incarceration. “I don’t agree with jumping on the stage at anyone’s political rally, however, I certainly would not (agree with prison); this person had no intention for violence.”
In April 2015, Dimassimo helped lead an anti-racism protest that included students standing on American flags and holding signs saying, “Not my flag.”
Rion said DiMassimo, who had no criminal record and is from a Southern Baptist, conservative background, wants to focus on his education.
“He does not want this to be the single thing that he’s ever remembered for,” Rion said. “He has a large future ahead of him and I think that he’s now refocusing on those points.”