A man who was arrested near the home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Maryland earlier this month pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to attempting to kill Kavanaugh.
Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, California, remained in custody after being charged with the attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice.
During the arraignment, he lowered his head and folded his hands around his neck as he answered questions from US Magistrate Judge Ajmel Quereshi. His public defender, Andrew Szekely, told the judge he was confident his client was receiving unspecified medical attention and medication he needed while in custody.
Quereshi has set a tentative trial date for August 23.
A grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland indicted Roske on the charge last week. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Roske, who was arrested on June 8, was armed with a gun and a knife, wore zip ties and dressed in black when he arrived by taxi just after 1 a.m. outside the house of Kavanaugh in Chevy Chase, a suburb of Washington in Montgomery, Maryland. County, according to the affidavit of an FBI agent.
Roske turned and walked away after seeing two deputy U.S. marshals standing nearby, according to the affidavit.
Roske called county police and said he had come from California to Maryland to kill a Supreme Court justice, the officer wrote. Roske also told police he had a gun in his suitcase and was having suicidal thoughts, according to the affidavit.
After his arrest, Roske told a police detective that he was upset by a leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court was about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case. Roske also said he was upset by the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, and believed Kavanaugh would vote to relax gun control laws, according to the affidavit.
Investigators found a gun along with ammunition, a knife, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, duct tape, a gun light and other gear in Roske’s suitcase and backpack, according to the FBI.
A Department of Homeland Security report said the leak of the draft advisory in May sparked a flurry of threats against officials and others and increased the likelihood of extremist violence. The leaked opinion also sparked protests outside the homes of Kavanaugh and other judges.
Last Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a bill that will provide 24-hour security protection for the families of Supreme Court Justices.