Judge goes with activist to Statue of Liberty

A Manhattan federal judge got a grand tour of the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday — led by the immigration rights activist convicted of scaling it.

Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein visited Liberty Island with Therese Okoumou, to get an idea of the danger she posed to tourists and the first responders who saved her, as he weighs what sentence to impose and whether to revoke her bail in the case, according to court records.

Okoumou was busted last week for staging yet another political stunt, this time in Austin, Texas, where she climbed a four-story building that houses a nonprofit center for undocumented immigrant kids.

Gorenstein said very little during the roughly hour-long visit, during which Park Police Lt. Chris Kyriakou explained exactly where Okoumou climbed the day he and another officer saved her.

“It was difficult to see her because of the angling,” Kyriakou said according to a recording of the visit obtained by The Post. “We were able to talk when she would lean forward which was also the point when it became dangerous … dangerous for her and for anyone below.”

In December, the 44-year-old was found guilty of three misdemeanor charges for climbing 24 feet up the base of Lady Liberty last Fourth of July in a protest against the families who were separated at the Mexican border.

The act forced an evacuation of the crowded tourist site on one of the busiest days of the year. Okoumou was there for three hours before she was rescued by NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit.
“There was nowhere to move,” Kyriakou recalled.

Gorenstein was set to sentence Okoumou on March 19 but ordered a bail hearing on Friday in light of her new arrest. She faces 1 ½ years in prison.

The judge scheduled the visit on Feb. 20, the same day Okoumou was re-arrested, so that he could “better appreciate the risks or hazards created by defendant’s conduct.”

The judge also requested a ladder, if it was deemed safe, so he could view “the surface of the area where the defendant was situated,” located at Lady Liberty’s feet.

“There was general questioning by defense, prosecution and the court as to where pedestrians were standing and how long they were there, the safety of first responders, how was the ladder secured and how were SWAT members secured,” said Okoumou’s lawyer Ron Kuby. “My takeaway was that had Ms. Okoumou slipped and fallen she certainly could have injured herself but she was very unlikely to have injured any bystanders.”

A helicopter from NBC New York caught the jurist and Okoumou on Liberty Island, accompanied by a group, on Wednesday morning.

Kuby said Gorenstein didn’t wind up climbing a ladder because it was wasn’t safe. Instead, he was shown where the ladder was placed on the day of the incident.

The feds want Okoumou’s bail revoked, saying she violated conditions of her release in the Manhattan case.

“Okoumou is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release,” Assistant US Attorney Brett Kalikow said in a letter to the judge.

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