White House fence jumper was trying to 'deliver a message': Lawyer

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Man Who Scaled White House Fence on Thanksgiving Left Suicide Note

A lawyer for Joseph Caputo, the flag-draped 23-year-old accused of scaling a White House fence on Thanksgiving, told NBC News Sunday that his client was a "politically-conscious young man" who was simply trying to "deliver a message."

It was a message, said the lawyer, Stephan Seeger, that "addresses the issues of education, the judiciary, the legal system. It's a writing I suspect was earmarked for the government to see."

See more from last week's incident:

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Thanksgiving White House fence jumper
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White House fence jumper was trying to 'deliver a message': Lawyer
In this photo provided by Vanessa Pena, a man jumps a fence at the White House on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. The man was immediately apprehended and taken into custody pending criminal charges, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters were spending Thanksgiving the holiday at the White House. (Vanessa Peña via AP)
In this photo provided by Vanessa Pena, a man jumps a fence at the White House on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. The man was immediately apprehended and taken into custody pending criminal charges, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters were spending Thanksgiving the holiday at the White House. (Vanessa Peña via AP)
In this photo provided by Vanessa Pena, a man jumps a fence at the White House on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. The man was immediately apprehended and taken into custody pending criminal charges, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters were spending Thanksgiving the holiday at the White House. (Vanessa Peña via AP)
People gather outside the White House after the Secret Service arrested a man who was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
This guy standing right next to me jumped the White House fence 😳 @washingtonpost get on this https://t.co/LfewNarJ18
Secret Service police stand guard outside the White House after a man was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The sun sets on the White House after the Secret Service arrested a man who was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secret Service police stand guard outside the White House after a man was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secret Service police stand guard outside the White House after a man was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secret Service police stand guard outside the White House after a man was caught jumping the fence as President Barack Obama and his family ate Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secret Service Officers stand guard on the sidewalk in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Joseph Caputo of Connecticut draped himself in an American flag and scaled the White House fence on Thanksgiving Day, as members of President Obamaâs family were celebrating Thanksgiving. Court documents show Caputo had been staying with friends in Virginia and left them a note that stated his intention to die on Nov. 26. The documents show he also left an audio message for his mother and prepared a will. Caputo made a brief court appearance on Friday and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors takes photos on the sidewalk in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Joseph Caputo, 22, of Connecticut, draped himself in an American flag and scaled the White House fence on Thanksgiving Day, as members of President Obamaâs family were celebrating Thanksgiving. Court documents show Caputo had been staying with friends in Virginia and left them a note that stated his intention to die on Nov. 26. The documents show he also left an audio message for his mother and prepared a will. Caputo made a brief court appearance on Friday and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Court documents have stated that Caputo left a suicide note, though Seeger said that "couldn't be further from the truth." Caputo's words, he said, had been mischaracterized.

"Joe wanted to let his family know that if something did happen, there was a range of possibilities," Seeger said. "One possibility would be that he'd be arrested. He used some words that were construed as he would be harmed. He had no intention of taking his own life."

Seeger acknowledged that Caputo's "manner of delivery" may have been "alarming," but he attributed that alarm to a "climate of fear."

"If someone does something unorthodox, it's automatically a threat," he said.

Caputo, who was taken into custody by the Secret Service, was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Seeger said Caputo has a history of Asperger's Syndrome (a condition on the mild side of the autism spectrum) that he has "battled fairly successfully," -- though it was unclear if it had played any role in his decision to jump the fence.

The incident comes amid heightened security measures after an Army veteran pleaded guilty to scaling a White House fence with a folding knife last year.

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