A Lewes man who took a gun into a New York City courthouse is home on bail pending a June court date.
John Scott de Kuyper, 53, appeared in court March 12 in New York City, where he met with a judge and district attorneys. He's been home since early March after an anonymous source posted his $50,000 cash bail, said his attorney Gideon Oliver.
During the court appearance, Oliver said he informed the judge there has been no indictment of de Kuyper on the violent felony charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. De Kuyper was arrested Feb. 22 after a gun and ammunition were discovered in a backpack he was taking into a the courthouse.
De Kuyper, wife Donna and daughters Montana and McKinnon met individually with district attorneys assigned to the case to make sure all the elements of the story check out, Oliver said.
"I think they're considering what they want to do with this case," he said.
A New York district attorney spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Oliver said de Kuyper and his family spoke about an Oct. 15 Occupy Wall Street rally that precipitated his courthouse arrest. De Kuyper attended the rally in Times Square when he scuffled with police. He was charged with fourth-degree attempted grand larceny, second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
YouTube footage of the protest shows de Kuyper – clearly visible wearing a green shirt, black beret and backpack – moving in the crowd toward police on the front lines. After what appears to be a heated exchange, de Kuyper lunges at a police officer identified in court documents as Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, reportedly the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD.
The video shows de Kuyper grabbing the front of the police officer's shirt; court documents state de Kuyper tried to tear the officer's badge off his uniform.
De Kuyper was in court Feb. 22 to receive a community service sentence for the Oct. 15 charges when the gun and ammunition were found in his backpack.
Oliver said de Kuyper forgot he had the gun and ammunition in his backpack when he brought it to the courthouse. He linked de Kuyper's lapse in judgment to his stage IV thyroid cancer diagnosis.
"What happened really was a big mistake that had more to do with his medical condition than anything else," Oliver said.
De Kuyper is taking high doses of Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone that affects your mood, memory and functioning, Oliver said.
"This is not a case where he intended to bring a gun into the courthouse," he said. "There obviously was a mistake."
De Kuyper has a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon in Delaware; however, there is no reciprocity in New York.
According to Delaware Code, residents are given a permit to carry a concealed weapon, "Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, any license issued pursuant to this section shall be void, and is automatically repealed by operation of law, if the licensee is or becomes prohibited from owning, possessing or controlling a deadly weapon."
Sussex County Prothonotary provided no further information on de Kuyper's gun permit citing confidentiality.
De Kuyper wrote in an email that he is glad to be home after his ordeal.
"This Monday our entire family gathered for my court date in Manhattan concerning my legal issues in NYC. Both of our daughters came home from college to attend with us. Afterward, three assistant district attorneys interviewed them. It might have been very intimidating, but our attorney said both Montana and McKinnon answered all their questions calmly and thoroughly. It sounds like they effectively conveyed the truth, that their Papa is a good guy who would never harm anyone but who is clearly suffering from some medically related memory issues. Donna and I are so proud of them for volunteering to do this."
"I am happy to be at home and getting back to business-as-usual here in Lewes. We are immensely grateful for our compassionate and thorough attorney and the overwhelming show of support and love from our family and friends, both here in Lewes and around the country," he wrote.
De Kuyper's next court appearance is scheduled June 21, although both parties could come to an agreement beforehand, Oliver said.