A 21-year-old female student at the University of Michigan pleaded guilty to a charge that she filed a false report that she had been attacked by a white middle-aged male supporter of Donald Trump. Halley Bass admitted to the misdemeanor on Monday in the 15th District Court of Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor. Bass told Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, "I was suffering from depression at the time”
Bass went on to say, “I made a superficial scratch on my face. It was visible and I was embarrassed about what I'd done. So I made up a story and told a friend that a stranger had done it while I was walking. I was encouraged to report it to the police. I made the mistake of doing that." According to a police report, Bass admitted to scratching her own face with a pin after becoming upset during a Woman's Literature class at the university.
Photo from Facebook account of Halley Bass.
Bass reported the crime on November 17, when she claimed that the attack was part of an upsurge of hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump. She told officers that she was assaulted because she was wearing a pin in support of Great Britain's "Brexit" vote.
Bass and attorney Douglas Mullkoff requested that she be sentenced by a mental health court. Judge Hines said if Bass is eligible, Bass will be sentenced by Judge Karen Valvo in that court. She may still face a $500 fine and 93 days in jail.
Bass originally told police that walking down Liberty St. in Ann Arbor when a man attacked her, slashing her face with what she believed was a safety pin, the police report said. "(The) person must have seen the pin and picked on me," Bass said, according to the report. "That's my best guess. No other reason why he would be targeting me."
Bass described the white male assailant as approximately 45 years old.
Bass was interviewed by Ann Arbor police and the FBI on November 17. When she was asked why she was wearing the Brexit pin, she appeared to be nervous. Bass answered, "... The significance of the safety pins is that ... to sort of like to show a solidarity with immigrants who feel threatened by Brexit. Um ... but now it's ... for people who feel threatened by president elect, Trump's his name ... Um so it was, it was to show, yeah, solidarity with the people like we show your fear and we want to help you get through it," she said, according to the report.
In a similar incident, a female Muslim student was exonerated of a felony charge after faking a hate crime. Last month, Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller told decided that the woman would not be charged with falsifying a police report. Detectives and university officials interviewed witnesses and looked a video surveillance but did not find evidence of her imagined assault. The young Muslim woman originally claimed that she was on campus when a white man threatened to light her hijab on fire if she did not remove it. She claimed that the man brandished a lighter. She also claimed that she removed her hijab. The man fled on foot. She had reported the fake hate crime after President Trump was elected in November. Also, a Muslim woman in New York City claimed that she was attacked by Trump supporters on the subway. That was also an imagined attack.
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