Trial for Somali-American in Christmas tree bomb plot begins
A Somali-American accused of trying to blow up a crowded Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in the US went on trial, more than two years after being nabbed in an FBI sting operation.
Arguing in court near the site of the tree lighting in Oregon, lawyers presented contrasting pictures of Mohamed Mohamud, either as a troubled youth tricked by undercover agents or a hardened Islamist terrorist.
Mohamud's defense lawyer claimed he would not have attempted to detonate the "bomb" -- a harmless fake supplied by FBI agents -- if agents posing as terrorists hadn't coerced the confused youngster into it.
The FBI "created a crime that never would have happened without them," attorney Stephen Sady told the jury which will decide Mohamud's fate, in the trial.
"He wasn't a perfect human being. But he wasn't someone who was sitting around thinking about blowing up his hometown," he added.
The government counters that Mohamud was not tricked and willingly chose to press the button on a cell phone that he thought would kill thousands gathered in downtown Pioneer Square.
Assistant US Attorney Pamala Holsinger told jurors, "He said he would push the button because it would make him happy to have bodies torn everywhere. By the time he met FBI agents he had already decided that violence against civilians, in or out of the US, was justified."
Mohamud watched the proceedings with his attorneys, taking notes on a legal pad. At one point he became emotional, and an attorney put a comforting hand on his shoulder. About ten family members sat on the other side of the packed courtroom, occasionally leaving and returning from the courtroom with what appeared to be a prayer rug.
Posted by: ryuge