Former President Reagan's would-be assassin seeks unconditional release

Aug 8 (Reuters) - The man who shot and wounded U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981 has asked a federal court in Washington to lift all restrictions imposed on him since his release from a psychiatric hospital two years ago.

John Hinckley, 63, has resided with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, since he was released from the Washington hospital in September 2016 under a slew of living conditions.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity at a 1982 trial and was diagnosed with depression and psychosis, both of which were in remission in 2016, his doctors said. A federal judge in mid-2016 found that Hinckley no longer posed a danger to himself or others. Mental health experts will examine him ahead of a Dec. 10 hearing to determine if that is still the case, federal court records show.

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This photo taken by presidential photographer Mike Evens on March 30, 1981 shows police and Secret Service agents reacting during the assassination attempt on then US president Ronald Reagan, after a conference outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.. Police officer Thomas Delahanty (foreground) and Press Secretary James Brady (behind) lay wounded on the ground. Reagan was hit by one of six shots fired by John Hinckley, who also seriously injured press secretary James Brady (just behind the car). Reagan was hit in the chest and was hospitalized for 12 days. Hinckley was aquitted 21 June 1982 after a jury found him mentally unstable. (Photo credit should read MIKE EVENS/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken by presidential photographer Mike Evens on March 30, 1981 shows police and Secret Service agents reacting during the assassination attempt on then US president Ronald Reagan, after a conference outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.. Reagan was hit by one of six shots fired by John Hinckley, who also seriously injured press secretary James Brady (just behind the car). Reagan was hit in the chest and was hospitalized for 12 days. Hinckley was aquitted 21 June 1982 after a jury found him mentally unstable. (Photo credit should read MIKE EVENS/AFP/Getty Images)
354390 091: James Brady and a police officer are seen lying on the ground after being shot while the suspect John Hinckley Jr. is apprehended,at right, moments after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, Washington, DC, March 30, 1981. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)
This photo taken by presidential photographer Mike Evens on March 30, 1981 shows President Ronald Reagan waving to the crowd just before the assassination attempt on him, after a conference outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.. Reagan was hit by one of six shots fired by John Hinckley, who also seriously injured press secretary James Brady (just behind the car). Reagan was hit in the chest and was hospitalized for 12 days. Hinckley was aquitted 21 June 1982 after a jury found him mentally unstable. (Photo credit should read MIKE EVENS/AFP/Getty Images)
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A call to Hinckley's Washington-based attorney was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Hinckley was 25 when he shot Reagan outside a Washington hotel in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, who had played a teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie "Taxi Driver."

In that film, the lead character played by Robert De Niro plots to assassinate a presidential candidate.

Reagan suffered a punctured lung but recovered quickly. His press secretary, James Brady, was left permanently disabled and eventually died of his injuries in 2014.

Hinckley on April 30 asked the court for his unconditional release.

A court filing dated Aug. 3 shows that a mental health expert is to report whether Hinckley would pose any danger if released under conditions to be set by the District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health. The agency when contacted on Wednesday did not immediately respond.

Hinckley's release in 2016 required that he work or volunteer at least three days a week, limit his travel, allow law enforcement to track his movements and continue meeting with a psychiatrist, among other conditions.

In 2016, members of the Reagan family opposed Hinckley's release from the hospital, but representatives for Reagan's children did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brady helped launch the modern gun control movement, and a 1993 bill named after him imposed background checks and a waiting period for gun purchases. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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