A Marine veteran freed from Mexico after more than seven months in jail will attend Tuesday night's tonight's State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol.
Andrew Tahmooressi is the guest of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.ornia, who is himself a former Marine officer and veteran of the Iraq War.
Tahmooressi, a former sergeant, was set free by a Mexican judge in November on humanitarian grounds. He had been arrested at a Tijuana border checkpoint in late March 2014 after officials found three weapons and ammunition in the back of his pickup truck.
The Marine vet claimed he had missed a turnoff in California and never intended to cross into Mexico. Over the course of his imprisonment, thousands of supporters and lawmakers, including Hunter, advocated for his release. Ultimately, his defense attorney's argument that Tahmooressi needed medical treatment for his service-related his post-traumatic stress disorder convinced a judge to set him free.
A spokesman for Hunter, Joe Kasper, said the event would provide Hunter the first opportunity to meet Tahmooressi face-to-face.
"Andrew went through quite an ordeal, and while we don't want to speak for Andrew, we've always known there are many people he wants to say thanks to," Kasper said. "This gives him that opportunity."
Kasper also said that Tahmooressi's attendance at the event is proof that the decorated combat veteran's mental and physical health is improving.
"He's a testament to the fact that no matter how serious the circumstances, anyone who suffers from PTSD, with the right effort, can overcome many of the challenges they face," he said.