Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen and former
Oregon State University student, faces a possible life prison term
for his conviction last year on a single charge of attempting to use
a weapon of mass destruction.
No date has been set for sentencing.
Mohamud was arrested shortly after attempting to use his mobile
phone to remotely detonate an artificial car bomb planted near a
Portland square that was crowded with thousands of people attending
a ceremony the day after Thanksgiving in 2010.
No one was hurt, and authorities say the public was never in actual
During a three-week trial in federal court, defense attorneys argued
that overzealous law enforcement officers posing as al Qaeda
militants invented a crime and entrapped their client.
But the jury agreed with the prosecution's argument that Mohamud, 19
years old at the time of the crime, was already radicalized and
could have backed out of the bomb plot at any point.
Mohamud's lawyers argued in court earlier this month that his
constitutional rights were violated because investigators obtained
evidence through warrantless interceptions of electronic
communications between the defendant and foreigners who were under
In that hearing, one of Mohamud's federal public defenders, Lisa
Hay, said it was as if the government had a warrant for a letter in
a delivery truck, but "grabbed the whole truck" and examined all of
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Siding with the prosecution, U.S. District Judge Garr King in
Portland wrote in a 56-page decision that he was "unpersuaded (that)
incidental communications collected" in this way without a warrant
violated Mohamud's rights.
The case comes at a time of increased public debate about government
monitoring of electronic communications of Americans, in light of
disclosures made by former National Security Agency contractor
Edward Snowden of U.S. surveillance activities.
Mohamud's public defenders declined to discuss the ruling, and
federal prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
“We are disappointed with the court's decision," American Civil
Liberties Union attorney Alex Abdo said in a statement.
"To accept the court's reasoning is to grant the government
effectively unfettered access to Americans' international calls and
emails," Abdo said.
(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Ken Wills)
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