PORTLAND, ORE. – A federal appellate court won’t rehear an appeal from Mohamed Mohamud, the Somali American sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb downtown Portland, Oregon, during the annual lighting of a Christmas tree.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously upheld Mohamud’s conviction. Mohamud’s attorneys sought to have the appeal heard before the entire bench, but the court denied the request Thursday.
President Donald Trump recently highlighted the Mohamud case in his executive order for a revised travel ban on people from Somalia and five other predominantly Muslim countries. Two federal judges this week blocked the order from taking effect.
Mohamud arrived in the United States at 3 years old and gained citizenship. He pressed a cellphone button in November 2010, believing it would set off explosives in a van. The bomb, however, was a fake provided by FBI agents posing as terrorists.
During trial and in their appeal, Mohamud’s attorneys said their client — 19 years old when arrested —was a victim of entrapment. They said he had neither the means nor the intent to commit domestic terrorism until he was persuaded by the undercover agents.
Moreover, they asserted that the warrantless surveillance of Mohamud’s foreign communications violated his constitutional rights.
Prosecutors said the college student was on the path to radicalization, and the FBI intervention stopped him from committing terrorism here or abroad.
In upholding the conviction in December, the three-judge panel acknowledged that the government’s conduct was “quite aggressive at times,” but said the sting operation fell short of a constitutional violation.
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