04:14 GMT28 February 2020
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    A former US Marine who is registered as a sex offender was arrested by federal officers at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport Sunday after lying about his identity to bypass security checkpoints about an hour before US President Donald Trump was set to depart from the same airport.

    According to reports, Brandon Mark Magnan passed two security checkpoints controlled by the US Secret Service and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies at around 3 p.m. Sunday in a Honda Pilot with an unidentified male passenger. Magnan identified himself to both checkpoints as a member of a Marine Corps helicopter squadron and provided deputies with credentials bearing Marine Corps seals, according to the Palm Beach Post, which obtained the complaint filed against Magnan in federal court.

    ​The 37-year-old man from Naples, Florida, and his unidentified male passenger were eventually able to get access to the facilities of Atlantic Aviation, which provides aircraft ground handling and other corporate flight services and which housed Air Force One, Trump’s presidential Boeing 747 jet, as well as the presidential Sea King helicopter, known as Marine One.

    However, upon entering the grounds of Atlantic Aviation, a sheriff’s deputy noticed that Magnan wasn’t wearing the Marine Corps uniform required for presidential travel and asked to see his credentials. The deputy then contacted a member of the helicopter squadron, who confirmed that Magnan’s credentials were fake. 

    Magnan told officials that he was a retired member of the squadron. However, the complaint states that an FBI crime database screening revealed that Magnan was dishonorably discharged for “serious offenses.”

    According to the complaint, Magnan was detained and charged with “false personation of an officer or employee of the United States,” and if convicted, he could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was released on bond from jail on Monday.

    A 2011 court opinion also obtained by the Palm Beach Post reveals that Magnan provided alcohol to underage individuals and threw parties at his off-base residence while enlisted as a member of a Marine Corps helicopter squadron. Three lance corporals testified during a military trial that they woke up to find that their pants had been removed or that they were being sexually assaulted by Magnan after falling asleep either at Magnan’s house or in a hotel room following the Marine Corps Ball. 

    According to the court opinion, Magnan was convicted on one count of abusive sexual conduct, one count of wrongful sexual contact, one count of forcible sodomy and three counts of assault. He was subsequently dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps.

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    Tags:
    Marine One, Florida, impersonations, arrest, Donald Trump
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