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Somali-American man guilty in Christmas bomb plot

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 31 Jan 2013 23:56 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details about case)

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan 31 (Reuters) - A Somali-American man was found guilty on Thursday of trying to blow up a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Oregon using a fake bomb supplied to him by undercover agents posing as Islamist militants, the public defender's office said.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen and former Oregon State University student, faces a possible life term in prison on his conviction on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction linked to the 2010 plot.

Mohamud was arrested after attempting to use his cell phone to remotely detonate an artificial car bomb planted in a van parked near a downtown Portland square crowded with thousands of people attending the ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.

No one was hurt, and authorities say the public was never in real danger.

During a three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Portland, defense attorneys argued that their client was charged with a crime that was essentially the creation of overzealous law enforcement officers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight has said that the college student made "a single and remarkable choice" to "take the lives of thousands of people he had never met before." (Reporting By Teresa Carson; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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