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December 3, 2008

Notable terrorism resentencing results in same sentence

As detailed in reports from the AP and from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the so-called "millenium bomber" has been resentenced to the same 22-year prison term he was given before the original sentence had been reversed by the Ninth Circuit.  Here are the notable basics:

A federal judge in Seattle rejected a life sentence Wednesday for Ahmed Ressam, whose terrorist plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium holiday rush was thwarted in 1999 by an alert customs officer in Port Angeles.

Federal prosecutors sought life because Ressam has stopped cooperating with investigators.  But U.S. District Judge John Coughenour reinstated a 22-year sentence, saying he could not ignore Ressam's cooperation in the first years of his incarceration.

An appeals court sent the case back to Coughenour for resentencing because of his failure in 2005 to clearly enumerate how he had calculated Ressam's sentence under federal guidelines.

In a courthouse surrounded by deputy U.S. marshals wearing body armor and carrying M-4 assault rifles, Ressam -- who acted as his own attorney -- was defiant.  Ressam retracted all previous statements made at his trial and those used against another alleged terrorist.  He said those things when he was mentally ill in the wake of his traumatic arrest, imprisonment and trial, Ressam told the court.  Ressam invited the judge to sentence him to life.

December 3, 2008 at 05:59 PM | Permalink

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