Woman accused of throwing shoe at Hillary Clinton freed
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks into the audience after an object was thrown on stage during her address to members of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries during their annual convention at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 10, 2014. (Las Vegas Sun, Steve Marcus)
Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
Published Friday, April 11, 2014 5:15PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 11, 2014 9:30PM EDT
LAS VEGAS -- An Arizona woman accused of throwing a shoe some 60 feet toward Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared aware during questioning by U.S. Secret Service agents of the allegation against her, authorities said Friday.
Alison Michelle Ernst, 36, was given a misdemeanour disorderly conduct summons and freed after she was booked at the Clark County jail, according to a Las Vegas police arrest report.
"Ms. Ernst appeared to be in an agitated state but aware of what she had just done," the report said.
Ernst could face up to a year in the county lockup if she is convicted of violating a county ordinance during the Thursday incident at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
She is accused of bypassing security and walking quickly toward a rope line about six rows from the front of a conference audience. Police say she reached into a purse, removed the shoe and threw it overhand toward the stage.
Clinton ducked and wasn't struck. She appeared startled but quickly cracked a couple of jokes before continuing her keynote speech to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The audience applauded.
Ernst was ushered by security guards out of the ballroom with her hands in the air and sat calmly afterward on a sofa in a hallway. She wore a blonde wig, blue dress and thong sandals.
She told an Associated Press reporter she threw a shoe and dropped some papers but did not identify herself or explain the action. Security officers ushered reporters and photographers away.
A jail booking photo, taken later, shows Ernst with short brown hair.
She couldn't immediately be reached Friday. It wasn't clear if she had a lawyer.
Brian Spellacy, Secret Service supervisory special agent in Las Vegas, said an orange and black athletic shoe was recovered from the stage.
Clinton has Secret Service protection because former presidents and their spouses are covered for their lifetime, Spellacy said.
Authorities said Ernst wasn't a credentialed conference attendee and wasn't supposed to have been in the ballroom, which had more than 1,000 people.
Audience members wore large conference identification badges and were asked to present photo identification for entry to Clinton's speech.
Clinton, the former first lady and Democratic senator from New York, has been travelling the country giving paid speeches to industry organizations and Democratic Party groups. She said in San Francisco on Tuesday that she was seriously considering a presidential bid.
The shoe-throwing incident reminded some of former President George W. Bush dodging shoes thrown by an Iraqi journalist during a news conference in Baghdad in December 2008. Shoe-throwing is considered an insult in Arab cultures.