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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guilty Verdict in Mohamed Mohamud Trial

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Mohamed Mohamud, the young Somali-American accused of trying to blow up Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square more than two years, has been found guilty today of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction.

The Oregonian has a pretty quickly topped story up right now on the verdict, announced just after 3. The paper also says Mohamud will appeal his conviction.

The jury handed up its verdict after less than a full day of deliberations in a trial that began Jan. 10 in a downtown courtroom just a few blocks from the scene of the crime.

Mohamud, a 21-year-old Somali American, was convicted of the only charge confronting him: trying to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison. Sentencing was set for May 14.

Mohamud was never in possession of actual explosives. He was nurtured by FBI operatives mounting a sting operation—an increasingly common antiterrorism tactic. Immediately after Mohamud's arrest, entrapment emerged as a major issue. Like in other FBI terror stings, what would have been the keystone recording in the case—the recording that captured Mohamud's first meeting with operatives—was missing.

The O mentions the groundwork Mohamud's attorneys laid toward that eventual appeal.

Among the key points: U.S. District Judge Garr M. King, who presided in the case, ruled that Mohamud's lawyers could not know the true identity of the undercover agents who helped make the sting; he said giving up their names would put the agents' lives at risk and potentially damage ongoing national security cases.

By not allowing the defense to know the identities of the agents, who were allowed to use their pseudonyms at trial, the defense could make no inquiries about whether the agents had been disciplined or been found to have lied in previous cases.

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