© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Judge Suspends Sentencing Of Would-Be Bomber After NSA Revelations

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, then 19, is shown after his arrest on Nov. 26, 2010, in Portland, Ore. Mohamud was convicted of planning to detonate a bomb during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, but his sentencing is on hold after revelations that investigators relied to some degree on NSA surveillance.
Getty Images
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, then 19, is shown after his arrest on Nov. 26, 2010, in Portland, Ore. Mohamud was convicted of planning to detonate a bomb during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, but his sentencing is on hold after revelations that investigators relied to some degree on NSA surveillance.

The sentencing of a Somali-American man convicted of trying to bomb a holiday tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., in 2010 has been put on hold indefinitely. That move comes just days after the Justice Department notified his lawyers that part of the case against him had been "derived from" secret NSA electronic surveillance.

Both sides met Tuesday in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Garr King to discuss next steps. The judge later issued a public order delaying the sentencing of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, which had been scheduled to take place Dec. 18.

"If sentencing remains appropriate, the court will reset the sentencing hearing," after it rules on motions from federal public defenders Stephen R. Sady and Lisa Hay, the judge's order said.

The move could foreshadow months or even years of legal wrangling, if the case becomes a vehicle to challenge the constitutionality of once-secret NSA monitoring of overseas email and social media accounts.

The Supreme Court this year turned back a challenge to surveillance law by a group of human rights workers, lawyers and reporters because they could not demonstrate they had been monitored or subjected to any harm. But the fresh disclosure to Mohamud and a series of other defendants in cases where U.S. prosecutors used secret surveillance could help overcome that hurdle.

Defense attorneys Sady and Hay will file court papers seeking discovery from prosecutors early next year. The defense lawyers had no comment on the latest developments in the case. But the heart of their arguments to the Portland jury that convicted Mohamud was that undercover FBI agents entrapped him using a phony fertilizer bomb. Mohamud, 22, has been living in federal custody in northwest Oregon.

For previous coverage, see Justice Says FISA Was Used To Help Crack 2010 Oregon Bomb Plot

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content