A 21-year-old woman in Ann Arbor, Michigan, saw her story about a violent “hate crime” committed by a Trump supporter fall apart—and now, she’s facing criminal charges.
Halley Bass, a student at University of Michigan, pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of filing a false police report.
On November 15, a week after the presidential election, Bass scratched up her face—and then reported to police that she had been physically attacked by Trump supporters. In pleading guilty, she admitted she made the whole thing up.
“I was suffering from depression at the time,” Bass explained to the judge, Elizabeth Pollard Hines. “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.”
Bass claimed in her police report that, while she walked to a local movie theater, a Trump supporter jumped out and slashed her face with a safety pin—allegedly targeting her because she wore an anti-Brexit solidarity pin. She described her attacker as a forty-five-year-old white man.
However, when police—who thought Bass’s story sounded “over the top” to begin with—began investigating, the charade fell apart when they couldn’t find Bass on any security footage from the street where the attack allegedly took place.
Bass later admitted she made the whole thing up—and that she slashed her face because she wanted a reason to be victimized, after a discussion in a women’s literature class that left her “scared.”
“It was more like I wanted a concrete reason to be scared then to just talk, I guess,” she explained.
Bass will be sentenced on March 22. She faces up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.