updated 10/15/2004 1:50:49 PM ET 2004-10-15T17:50:49

A prominent Muslim activist who once was invited to the White House was sentenced Friday to the maximum 23 years in prison for illegal business dealings with Libya.

Abdurahman Alamoudi pleaded guilty in July to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-ranking Libyan officials while serving as a go-between for them and Saudi Arabian dissidents.

Alamoudi also admitted participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Abdullah. And though he was not charged in connection with that, prosecutors cited the plot as reason for him to receive the maximum sentence.

“This conduct is so base, so reprehensible that this defendant deserves every day of prison that this court will impose upon him,” government attorney Steven Ward said.

Defense lawyer Stanley Cohen asked for leniency and Alamoudi said he was sorry.

“Your honor, I regret my involvement in everything,” Alamoudi said before U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton imposed the sentence.

According to a 20-page “statement of facts” filed by prosecutors, Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi wanted Abdullah killed after a March 2003 Arab League Summit during which the two called each other names.

Within two weeks, Alamoudi, who had in the past frequently traveled illegally to meet Libyan government officials, was summoned to a meeting in Tripoli and told Gaddafi wanted to punish Saudi leaders. The unidentified Libyan officials wanted Alamoudi to introduce them to Saudi dissidents who could create “headaches” for the Saudi regime, authorities said.

Alamoudi was not initially told the ultimate plan was to assassinate Abdullah, learning of it only several months later from an unidentified “high-ranking Libyan government official,” the papers said.

Last year, a Libyan official paid Alamoudi $250,000. Court documents indicate Alamoudi used some of the cash for himself and transferred the rest to two others for personal use.

Alamoudi received more cash from Libya and provided some to the Saudi dissidents. He was carrying $340,000 of that cash in England when it was seized by airport authorities there during a routine baggage search. Alamoudi was questioned about the money but not arrested.

He returned to Libya and was arrested Sept. 28, 2003, when he returned to the United States.

Alamoudi is a founder of the American Muslim Council and related American Muslim Foundation. He visited the White House during the Clinton administration and participated in a group discussion with George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.

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