Bush grenade attacker gets life
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(CNN) -- A Republic of Georgia court has sentenced a man to life in prison for attempting to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush by lobbing a hand grenade towards a podium during a rally in the capital last year, according to Georgia's interior minister.
Vladimir Arutinian of Tbilisi was also found guilty of trying to assassinate Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who was standing on the podium with Bush on May 10.
He was also convicted of killing a police officer who tried to apprehend him two months after the incident.
The would-be assassin threw a grenade into a crowd about 20 meters (65 feet) from the stage where Bush had just begun speaking, but the grenade, wrapped in a plaid cloth, failed to detonate, authorities said.
Initial reports said the grenade was not live, but authorities later said it was.
Georgia's Interior Minister Vano Meradishvili told CNN he fully expected Arutinian to appeal the ruling because he "enjoys the attention" that he has received.
At one point during the trial, which began just over a month ago, Arutinian appeared in the courtroom with his mouth sewn shut.
Arutinian would not be eligible for parole, and could only be released under a presidential pardon, which was unlikely under Saakashvili, Meradishvili said.
In September, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Arutinian for the assassination attempt against Bush, and could request his extradition if he is released in the future.
Meradishvili said the government could not have apprehended Arutinian, who lived a reclusive life, without the help of two citizens, who would share an $80,000 reward.
The investigation involved Georgia investigators, the Justice Department, FBI and U.S. Secret Service.
Shortly after Arutinian's capture, the Justice Department and Secret Service issued a joint statement praising the government of Georgia for its "extraordinary cooperation" in the case.
CNN Correspondent Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report
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