- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A man charged with carrying a loaded shotgun near the U.S. Capitol and planning to set off a bomb began defending himself yesterday in D.C. Superior Court.

Michael Gorbey, 38, of Rapidan, Va., was arrested in January reportedly carrying the shotgun and a sword outside the Capitol — an incident that caused hours of gridlock. Weeks later, police said they found a homemade bomb in his pickup truck.

Gorbey, wearing a pale olive-green shirt and matching tie, said he thinks there is a conspiracy against him. He asked the jury to review both sides and to return a verdict of not guilty.

Prosecutors said in opening statements that the case against isn’t complicated and comes down to the question of whether Gorbey was in possession of the weapons and homemade bomb.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings said Gorbey came to the District with a 12-gauge shotgun, a sword almost 3 feet long, 800 rounds of ammunition and a homemade bomb. He said the numbers 13 and 7 were written on the sword, corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet that match Gorbey’s initials.

He said Gorbey donned a bulletproof vest, and was walking with a backpack, shotgun and sword when authorities spotted him. He said a U.S. Capitol police officer repeatedly ordered Gorbey to drop the shotgun and was prepared to fire at the man until he finally complied.

Police searched Gorbey’s truck in January and used a robotic camera to look inside the vehicle and water to destroy suspicious items inside.

Authorities searched the truck again three weeks later and found a can of black powder taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle of pellets.

Gorbey faces charges of planning to set off a bomb. He also is accused of making or transporting an explosive device with the intent of using it against people or property and multiple firearms charges.

Court records show Gorbey is a felon and has been in and out of prison since 1991 for convictions on larceny, domestic violence, and illegal gun and drug charges.

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