statue of liberty climbing activist headed to jail?

December 8, 2018
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You might remember the name Therese Patricia Okoumou. In a daring feat of courage, the New York based activist was arrested trying to scale the 150 foot tall Statue of Liberty in July, to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families crossing American borders.

Okoumou, an immigrant of the Republic of Congo, became an instant viral icon. But now, she could be facing serious jail time.

After her arrest, she pled not guilty federal charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with agency functions. In November, she was denied a trial by jury.  On Dec. 17, she’ll go before a judge at the U.S. Southern District Court in Manhattan, New York.

On Thursday, she announced high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented Stormy Daniels in a legal battle against Donald Trump, would be joining her legal team.

“Patricia and I are both passionate advocates of mothers, fathers and children separated at our southern border as a result of the draconian policies of Donald Trump and his cronies,” Avenatti said in a statement on Twitter.

Avenatti also represented immigrant children separated from their families thanks to Trump’s immigration policies.  

This isn’t her first brush with activism. Okoumou is a member of the direct action collective formed to resist Trump’s policies called Rise and Resist.  On Independence Day, the group unfurled a giant banner reading “Abolish ICE” on  Lady Liberty, but they say they weren’t involved in Okoumou’s attempt to scale the statue.

After her release from custody back in July, Okoumou said she got the inspiration for her gravity defying act  from a former First Lady. “Michelle Obama, our beloved first lady that I care so much about said, ‘When they go low, we go high.’

“I went as high as I could,” she said in front of a crowd of cheering supporters.