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Charges Filed in White House Shooting

Aired February 9, 2001 - 1:04 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The man who allegedly fired a gun outside the White House two days ago is now facing formal charges.

CNN's Kelli Arena is covering that story for us. And she joins us now from Washington -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, here's what we know: We do know that a charge has been faxed to the Magistrate's Office here at District Court, which means that there is going to be a federal charge filed against Robert Pickett.

We are not certain about the -- what that charge is. But we had been told previously by sources that the prosecutors were leaning toward a charge of assault of a federal officer, which carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.

As you know, Robert Pickett remains in the hospital. He is in good condition. That charge is not officially filed until the U.S. Attorney's Office sends an official here to present it in person before the magistrate. Our guidance says that that may not happen until later on this afternoon, but we'll keep on top of it and let you know when we know -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And why the specific charge: assault on a federal official? Does that just stem from him having a gun and not giving himself up to authorities?

ARENA: Exactly, Natalie. He did -- at least according to reports -- point a weapon at a Secret Service agent. That does qualify as assault. Of course, other charges could stem as this process goes along. Just because there's one charge now does not mean that it will not be added to later on when he is arraigned. But as I said, right now we do not know exactly what the charge is, just that the processing has started here at U.S. District Court.

ALLEN: OK, Kelli Arena, we'll keep close tabs with you -- thanks.

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