Two security incidents take place at the Supreme Court in the same hour

There were two security incidents at the US Supreme Court in the same hour on Wednesday, CBS News has learned.

Minutes before guns were seized from a Georgia man’s van near the Supreme Court complex Wednesday afternoon, a California man was arrested for claiming he had “higher authority” and trying to illegally enter the high court’s north door.

According to newly filed court documents obtained by CBS News, Melvin Marbrey, 73, told Supreme Court police he was at the court to meet with Chief Justice John Roberts and “wasn’t going to leave (until) he was allowed to enter the building.” According to a police affidavit, Marbrey falsely identified himself as having “higher authority” and presented a congressional report as so-called evidence. He told the officers, “I’ll go in or do whatever you have to do.”

Marbrey was arrested at 3:09 p.m. Wednesday, minutes before a separate security scare in which police said they found weapons in the car of Tony Payne, 80, who was arrested and faces weapons charges. Marbrey’s charging documents do not immediately indicate any connection between the men.

During a hearing Thursday afternoon, Marbrey said he planned to return to the Supreme Court after his release. During the case, Marbrey invoked sovereign citizen language, questioning the authority of the court and the Department of Justice. Asked to identify his defense attorney by the court, Marbrey replied, “My attorney is the attorney general of the United States. That’s Merrick Garland. This court has no authority.”

The judge issued a stay ordering him away from the Supreme Court, to which Marbrey replied, “I’m not going to stay away. I’m going there now.” He added: “I am asking you to release me right now.”

Meanwhile, Tony H. Payne, whose white minivan was allegedly stopped or searched, was expected at approximately 3:43 p.m. Wednesday, to appear in DC Superior Court Thursday afternoon.

Several weapons were recovered and three people were detained as authorities searched the vehicle near the Capitol, US Capitol Police said Wednesday. The three told officers they were there to deliver documents to the Supreme Court, Capitol Police said.

Payne, 80, of Tunnel Hill, Georgia, was later arrested on weapons charges, Capitol police said, and his adult grandson was turned over to DC Disability Services. A woman who was with them was detained and released.

Payne is expected to face three charges: unregistered firearm, unregistered ammunition and carrying a handgun without a license, Capitol Police said.

According to Capitol Police, officers noticed a white van illegally parked and a police dog alerted officers, leading to a search. One of the men told officers he had guns, which are still prohibited on the Capitol grounds.

Officers found two handguns and a shotgun in the vehicle, Capitol Police said, along with a pipe and containers. A hazmat team was also called in to search the van.

The nearby Supreme Court was not open Wednesday, but the area has been under heightened security. An eight-foot fence that had been erected around the court after several judges received threats in the spring was removed in August.

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