Entrapment/Manufactured Charges/Agent Provocateurs Prosecutions

  • Lawyer for U.S. Army sergeant accused of terrorism suggests entrapment

    Source: Reuters. The lawyer for a U.S. Army sergeant charged in Hawaii with trying to provide material support to Islamic State extremists said on Thursday his client suffers from mental illness that FBI agents exploited in a “sting” operation leading to his arrest. Questions about Ikaika Erik Kang’s state of mind and the possibility of entrapment were raised by defense lawyer Birney Bervar in remarks to reporters after his client was ordered to remain in jail without bond.

     
  • Coming soon: A rare look at how terrorism cases are made

    Source: Village Voice. In the spring of 2015, two Queens women were arrested for an alleged ISIS-terror plot to build a homemade bomb. According to the government, the attack was thwarted by an undercover detective who went by the name “Mel.” In preliminary hearings, the defense has argued that Mel actually induced the women to engage in behavior they never would have otherwise. According to a recent court ruling, if the case goes to trial, not only will the jury and the public get to hear Mel’s side of the story – they may also hear from Muslim women she has spied on in the past. It’s also a case that may allow the public the unusual opportunity to scrutinize how undercover operatives conduct terrorism investigations, and if their tactics adhere to the letter and the spirit of the law. Attorneys for the defendants – Asia Siddiqui, 31, and Noelle Velentzas, 28, both American citizens – hope they may be able to gather proof that their clients were entrapped.

     
  • Federal judges reject bid for appeal in Ohio terror plot

    Source: Associated Press. A federal appellate panel has dismissed an Ohio man’s bid to appeal his 30-year prison sentence for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol. The three Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled recently that 22-year-old Christopher Cornell had waived his broad appeal rights when he pleaded guilty last year to three charges including attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees in support of the Islamic State group.

     
  • Islamic State defendant to remain in jail after watching documentary

    Source: Associated Press. A young man convicted of trying to join the Islamic State group will remain in custody until a judge decides whether he violated probation by watching a documentary on terrorism. Abdullahi Yusuf is one of nine men from Minnesota who were convicted and sentenced last year for trying to join the militant group in Syria.

     
  • Man arrested, accused of trying to fight for lslamic State

    Source: USA Today. Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, was arrested Wednesday at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton, states he was traveling to Syria via a flight to Turkey or Jordan to join Islamic State fighters against Syrian leadership. Alebbini has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. The FBI said it paid “confidential human source” $3,500 in this case. Agents said they previously had paid this person $15,000 during other cases. “The (source) hopes to receive immigration-related benefits for his/her cooperation,” the unidentified FBI agents stated in an affidavit.

     
  • Minneapolis woman gets probation in terrorism case — at prosecution’s urging

    Source: Associated Press. A Minneapolis woman who sent money to the militant group al-Shabab in Somalia was sentenced to five years’ probation on Wednesday after she cooperated with prosecutors, who said the light sentence would send a message to community members who shunned the woman yet supported other defendants who remained defiant. Amina Mohamud Esse, 43, pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. She faced up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors sought probation because she provided substantial assistance to the government.

     
  • Keys bomb plotter Suarez gets life in prison

    Source: Miami Herald. Harlem Suarez, the 25-year-old convicted of buying a bomb and plotting to blow up a Florida Keys beach in allegiance to the Islamic State, deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Defense attorney Richard Della Fera, who was not court appointed, argued Suarez wouldn’t have had the aptitude nor the nerve to detonate a bomb in public among innocent beach-goers. Instead, Della Fera said, Suarez was swayed by the undercover agents and goaded into following through with his talk of buying a bomb. The only testimony Tuesday came from psychologist Dr. Alejandro Arias, who said in evaluating Suarez he found a naïve, gullible man desperate for approval.

     
  • Who is Mel? US terror case could unmask New York police mole

    Source: SF Gate. For years, a woman named “Mel” mingled with young Muslims in New York, telling them she was a Turkish convert to the faith looking for friends. In reality, she was a cop working for the New York Police Department. Her true identity and the full nature of her work remain a guarded secret, but, thanks partly to social media, she may be unmasked as part of an upcoming trial of two women accused of plotting a homemade bomb attack.

     
  • Trump’s first terror arrest: a broke stoner the FBI threatened at knifepoint

    Source: The Intercept. The Department of Justice proudly announced the first FBI terror arrest of the Trump administration on Tuesday: an elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year-old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb — and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family. Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, is now in federal custody on charges of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted on the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

     
  • How an American ended up accused of aiding ISIS with gift cards

    Source: The New York Times. The prosecution of Nick Young, the only law enforcement officer among more than 100 Americans who have been accused of helping the Islamic State, offers a revealing look at the F.B.I.’s shadowy cat-and-mouse efforts to identify possible Islamic extremists. He is charged with providing “material support” to the Islamic State, in the form of $245 worth of Google Play gift cards. The authorities say he gave the gift cards to a Muslim friend named Mo — in reality, an undercover informant — to support recruitment for the terrorist group. Mr. Young’s lawyer claims that the F.B.I. entrapped him, with undercover operatives popping in and out of his life for at least six years.