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Rep. Jamaal Bowman Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor for Triggering Fire Alarm

For triggering a fire alarm as lawmakers worked to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline, Rep. Jamaal Bowman pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor. Under an agreement with prosecutors, he will pay a $1,000 fine and serve three months of probation, after which the false fire alarm charge will be dismissed from his record, according to the Associated Press. The New York lawmaker acknowledged pulling the alarm, saying he'd made a mistake while rushing to the floor to vote and trying to open an unexpectedly locked door.

The funding package was ultimately approved with most Republicans and almost all Democrats, including Bowman, supporting the bill. But the alarm forced the evacuation of a House office building for over an hour on Sept. 30. “I really regret that this caused so much confusion and that people had to evacuate, and I just caused a disturbance. I hate that. It’s pretty embarrassing,” Bowman said after his plea hearing. Bowman, a Democrat, didn’t tell officers about the error because he didn't want to delay the vote, he said. Republicans criticized Bowman, noting that he could have easily notified the several police officers he'd passed afterward. As part of his plea deal, Bowman will also formally apologize to Capitol police. He’s slated to return to court for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 29, when the charge will be dropped after the completion of his probation.


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