CLINTON — A Clinton man, convicted of illegal firearms possession, feared for his safety but never brandished the guns investigators found in his home last year, his attorney said ahead of his sentencing Wednesday in federal court.
Alexander Luong, a 31-year-old felon convicted of attempted sexual assault and unlawful restraint, had received threats following his state criminal convictions, his attorney, Glenn M. Conway, wrote in a sentencing memorandum seeking to keep his client out of prison.
His lawyer wrote that he “feared for his safety. He never brandished the weapons or threatened anyone with them,” his lawyer wrote in the memorandum.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer ultimately sentenced Luong to one year and one day, federal prosecutors said, and three years of supervised release for the illegal possession of a firearm.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents working with Clinton police searched Luong’s residence on Feb. 14, 2020, discovered two firearms in a basement bedroom of Luong’s house, court documents and statements show.
A Glock pistol was under a seat cushion and the Smith & Wesson pistol, equipped with a 22-round magazine, was found in a yellow shopping bag, the agents reported.
Luong waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty on Sept. 17, 2020, to a single count of unlawful possession, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Conway, in the sentencing memo, had asked the judge to sentence Luong to supervised released instead of incarceration, arguing that Luong’s conduct “is fairly passive” and was not “evidence of any inherently evil intentions.”
In the memo, Conway highlighted Luong’s long struggle with substance abuse.
“He has a documented history of substance abuse dating back to when he was 13 years old that appeared to escalate as he got older. Mr. Luong was successful in completing the five years of probation, finishing all programs associated substance abuse, sex offender treatment, and mental health,” Conway wrote, referencing punishment for the 2012 state conviction.
Conway added: “However, once off probation, the substance abuse issues crept back into Mr. Luong’s life, ultimately costing him his job.”
Luong’s attorney said that it apears that Luong “hit bottom” after losing his job in 2018 due to substance abuse and that this event “was likely the catalyst for Mr. Luong to take his substance abuse seriously and really invest in recovery.”
His attorney said in the memo that his client was not “attempting to minimize the severity of the charge(s) or take issue with the law governing his conduct. The intention is to distinguish Mr. Luong’s conduct from those criminal acts” such as “murder, rape, robbery, arson, etc.”
Luong, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on March 16.
The case, prosecuted by was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria del Pilar Gonzalez, was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal gun violence program.