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Woman who threw shoe at Hilary Clinton questioned by Secret Service and freed

If found guilty, Ms Ernst could face a year in jail

A woman accused of throwing a shoe at Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was questioned by the US Secret Service, before being booked and freed by at the Clark County jail.

36-year-old Alison Michella Ernst “appeared to be in an agitated state but aware of what she had just done,” according to a Las Vegas Police report.

Ms Ernst is accused of bypassing security at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino, and walking quickly toward a rope line about six rows from the front of a conference audience where Mrs Clinton was giving a speech to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

The Democratic senator's keynote address was part of a country-wide tour giving paid speeches to industry organizations and Democratic Party groups. 

As Mrs Clinton was speaking, Ms Ernst reached into a purse, removed an orange and black shoe and threw it overhand toward the stage – but Mrs Clinton ducked and was not struck.

Startled, Mrs Clinton joked: "Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?"

"My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial," she quipped as the audience applauded.

As Mrs Clinton is the spouse of former President Bill Clinton, she has lifetime protection from the Secret Service.

Authorities said Ms Ernst did not have a conference pass and was not supposed to have been in the ballroom, which was filled with more than 1,000 people.

Ms Ernst was handed a misdemeanour disorderly conduct summons following the incident.

If found guilty of violating a county ordinance by throwing the shoe at the senior politician, Ms Ernst could be punished with a year-long jail sentence.

It is not yet understood if Ms Ernst had a lawyer, and she was not immediately available to comment.