PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Connecticut woman charged with racing an SUV toward a barrier at Mar-a-Lago in January, prompting the Secret Service and Palm Beach County sheriff's officers to fire at her vehicle, now faces federal charges as well.
In documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, the U.S. Attorney charged Hannah Roemhild with assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon outside President Donald Trump's "Winter White House" on Jan. 31.
The "deadly weapon" was the Jeep SUV that Roemhild, whose attorneys say suffers from mental health issues, had rented during a visit to Palm Beach County.
An off-duty Florida Highway Patrol officer spotted her dancing on top of the SUV outside The Breakers hotel, sparking a chase that wound 2½ miles to two security checkpoints near Mar-a-Lago.
Authorities have said Roemhild, 31, almost assuredly had no idea where she was heading. The president was not at the complex at the time.
Authorities allege Roemhild raced through the barriers, and two Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies and one U.S. Secret Service agent fired at her. No one was injured.
Roemhild then allegedly crossed the Southern Boulevard bridge and picked up her mother at Palm Beach International Airport. She was tracked to a nearby hotel where she was arrested that afternoon, deputies have said.
Palm Beach County prosecutors charged Roemhild with two counts of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer and one count each of fleeing at high speed and resisting an officer without violence.
This week's three-count federal filing uses only boilerplate language about the danger in which Roemhild placed the three agents – identified only as J.B., R.A. and R.R. – and provides no narrative about the events of that day.
Roemhild's lawyers have said the opera singer was off her medication at the time of the incident. They have pleaded not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in the state case.
Late Tuesday, attorney David Roth would not say whether he'll use the same defense in the federal case. He did say that "Hannah's mental state at the time of this sad and tragic incident will be appropriately raised in federal court as well."
The federal felony charge carries a prison term of up to 20 years, as well as three years of federal probation, along with a $250,000 fine.
This week's federal filing doesn't say why the U.S. Attorney was just now taking action nine months after the incident. Spokeswoman Marlene Rodriguez told The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Network, on Wednesday that the U.S. Attorney "cannot discuss our internal deliberations and discussions."
In federal court Wednesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed Roemhild would be allowed to return to Connecticut and live with her parents, and get treatment at a hospital there, so long as state courts concur.
On Oct. 9, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Joseph Marx approved a motion by Roemhild's lawyer to let her leave the Lifeskills Mental Health Center in Broward Cand stay with her mother in Palm Beach County without an ankle monitor.
Also, on Oct. 15, the court clerk's office told defense lawyers it would not make confidential an unspecified court document and that the document would be posted on the docket. It had not as of Tuesday afternoon.
Follow reporter Eliot Kleinberg on Twitter: @eliotkpbp
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This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Hannah Roemhild faces assault charges for charging Mar-a-Lago barrier