An Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland's town square four years ago. Prosecutors had sought a 40-year term for Mohamed Mohamud, 23, in the plot that actually was an FBI sting.
Mohamud was arrested Nov. 26, 2010, after pressing a keypad button on a cellphone that he believed would trigger a massive truck bomb and kill people gathered for the annual event. But the bomb was a fake provided by undercover FBI agents posing as al-Qaida recruiters. The undercover agents made friends with Mohamud — a Somali American — after learning he had written for an online jihadi magazine and exchanged emails with accused terrorists.
Jurors rejected Mohamud's entrapment defense at his January 2013 trial. The sentencing was pushed back a year after the government disclosed that warrantless overseas wiretaps helped make its case. The defense unsuccessfully sought a new trial.
Government attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Garr King to give Mohamud to four decades in prison. Lead prosecutor Ethan Knight said the former Oregon State University student never wavered or hesitated in his willingness to kill people that day.
Chief Federal Public Defender Stephen Sady said 40 years would be "draconian," and asked for King to impose no more than 10 years. Sady said Mohamud has shown remorse, and been doing everything he can while in prison to become a better person. He contends Mohamud had no plans to carry out an attack until after he met the undercover agents.
- The Associated Press