Mohamed Mohamud Apologizes, But His Fate In Portland Bomb Plot Rests In Judge’s Hands.

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Mohamed Mohamud, the 22-year-old Somali American convicted of trying to set off a bomb in Portland’s living room in 2010, scratched out a three-page letter of apology to the federal judge preparing to sentence him.

“To think back to that day fills me with horror,” Mohamud wrote to U.S. District Judge Garr M. King in an undated letter that appeared Friday in a sentencing memo filed in federal court. “I keep asking myself, ‘Is that really me on the tape?’ My heart is filled with remorse, shame, sorrow, pain and misery every time I think about my actions on that day.”

Legal teams on both sides of the case filed memos with King that seek competing ranges of punishment. The defense wants a 10-year sentence that would put Mohamud back on the street before the end of the decade. Government prosecutors recommend a minimum of 40 years, which would put Mohamud in prison until his 50s.

King also will consider a pre-sentence report from U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, which cites federal sentencing guidelines and calls for Mohamud to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The new court papers revealed for the first time that Mohamud met four times with prosecutors and federal agents before his January trial. He provided them “complete and truthful answers to national security questions and offered to assist the government in educating other Muslim youth regarding the dangers of Internet propagandists,” his defense team wrote.

A jury found Mohamud guilty on Jan. 31 of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010, as tens of thousands of revelers gathered for the city’s holiday tree lighting. The jury deliberated for less than seven hours before finding that he tried to kill people with what turned out to be a fake fertilizer bomb loaded into a van parked next to the square.

In addition to Mohamud’s letter to the judge, the defense memo included a signed statement in which he renounces his crime, which noted that his actions “do not represent in any way the teachings of Islam and the Quran. But rather the teachings of misguided scholars and individuals.”

It’s not clear when or where Mohamud wrote his apology to King. Deputy U.S. Marshals moved him on July 2 from the downtown Justice Center Jail to the medium-security federal prison in Sheridan to await sentencing.

Also unclear is when Mohamud will be sentenced. The government filed a motion on Friday seeking to postpone the date that King passes judgment on Mohamud. The sentencing had been set for Sept. 6.

The judge clearly will consider the defense and prosecution plans, as well as the pre-sentence report. But the decision is entirely his.

Friday’s sentencing memos offered starkly different characterizations of Mohamud, his actions and his acceptance of responsibility for his crime.

Government prosecutors wrote that Mohamud has described what he did as a “terrible mistake,” when in fact he had meticulously prepared for such an attack for years.

“It was not a ‘mistake,’” they wrote. “It was a deliberate and heinous crime.”

Mohamud’s only mistake, prosecutors noted, was his affiliation with two undercover FBI agents, whom he would later accuse of working to entrap him. “Fortunately for all involved, they worked for the FBI rather than for Al Qaeda,” prosecutors wrote.

The government noted the seriousness of Mohamud’s crime: “In this case, defendant believed he was going to maim and kill thousands of people by detonating a bomb. He did not know the bomb was inert (secretly rigged by an FBI bomb tech). He fully expected murder and mayhem when he dialed twice in attempting to detonate the bomb. Remarkably, however, he was calm and completely at peace with the prospect of committing such a horrific act.”

Prosecutors also minimized Mohamud’s help during his four meetings with the government. In those sessions, known as proffers, Mohamud elaborated on the evolution of his jihadist ideology and his contacts with and knowledge of other suspected extremists.

“These proffers were of limited value to the government in its ongoing efforts to gather intelligence about potential terrorist threats,” they wrote. “Nonetheless, defendant persistently minimized his support for attacks on the United States and his predisposition to commit the crime with which he was charged.”

Mohamud’s lawyers filed a 107-page sentencing memo that included their client’s hand-written apology to King and the reports of two psychiatrists who described him as a low risk for “future dangerousness.”

“Mohamed’s life is worth saving: he will prove himself worthy of any mercy the court can provide to temper what he knows will be a significant prison sentence,” they wrote. “The family’s indescribable suffering at the loss of the eldest son should be mitigated to the extent possible.

Source: Oregon.

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