Tuesday October 13th, 2015 12:52PM

Minn. man convicted of aiding Somalia terror group

By The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A Minneapolis man accused of helping send young men through a terrorist pipeline from Minnesota to Somalia was convicted Thursday on all five terrorism-related charges he faced, including one that could land him in prison for life.<br /> <br /> The jury returned its verdict against Mahamud Said Omar after deliberating for about eight hours over two days. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis did not set a sentencing date.<br /> <br /> Omar, 46, nodded quietly as an interpreter gave him the bad news. As he was being led from the courtroom, he held up his hands and smiled at his brothers and other supporters of his in the courtroom gallery.<br /> <br /> One of his defense attorneys, Jon Hopeman, said outside of court afterward that Omar will appeal the verdict. He said he plans to scrutinize secretly recorded wiretaps of conversations involving Omar that weren't made available to the defense team.<br /> <br /> Omar, a mosque janitor, was the first man to stand trial in the government's investigation into what it says was the recruitment of more than 20 men who have left Minnesota since 2007 to join al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist group linked to al-Qaida that's blamed for much of the violence that has plagued the East African country.<br /> <br /> Prosecutors say Omar helped some recruits from Minnesota's Somali community, which is the largest in the U.S., buy plane tickets to Somalia, and gave others $1,000 to buy weapons while they were staying in an al-Shabab safe house.<br /> <br /> Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty told jurors in closing arguments Wednesday that Omar moved the young men as "cannon fodder" through a pipeline to al-Shabab.<br /> <br /> The FBI agent overseeing Omar's case, Kiann VanDenover, testified that at one point in questioning, Omar claimed to be a "team leader" for al-Shabab.<br /> <br /> Omar has denied ever helping al-Shabab. His attorney, Andrew Birrell, portrayed him as a "frightened, little man" who has struggled to adapt to life in the U.S. and who lacks the skills and know-how to organize anything. Birrell says the government's case is based on the corrupt testimony of al-Shabab recruits who repeatedly lied and who testified only because their plea deals required it.<br /> <br /> The trial testimony provided insights into the long-running investigation, including how the young men were recruited and what happened when they got to Somalia to join al-Shabab's fight against the fledgling U.N.-backed government in Somalia, which was backed by troops from neighboring Ethiopia, who were seen by some Somalis as an invading force.<br /> <br /> Omar was one of 18 men charged in the Minnesota case. Seven have pleaded guilty, while others are presumed to be out of the country. At least six of the men who traveled to Somalia from Minnesota have died, and others are presumed dead, according to family members and the FBI
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Stunning Congress, House Speaker Boehner announces plans to resign; tea party declares victory
WASHINGTON (AP) — Plunging Congress into deeper turmoil, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation Friday, shutting down a tea party drive to depose the nation's highest-ranking Re...
6:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Tornado heavily damages 10 homes but causes no injuries on island in South Carolina
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tornado quickly blew through a neighborhood on the South Carolina coast early Friday and blew out windows, knocked down trees and heavily damaged ten homes.The tornado touc...
5:08PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Caterpillar says it may cut more than 10,000 jobs by 2018, lowers 2015 revenue expectation
Caterpillar is planning another round of job cuts that could exceed 10,000 people through 2018, as the construction and mining equipment maker adjusts to downturns in key markets.That could amount to...
10:06AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Escaped tarantula grounds Atlanta-bound flight in Baltimore
An eight-legged creature that escaped in the cargo hold of a passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International grounded the plane and sent passengers onto another flight.
By The Associated Press
9:06AM ( 2 weeks ago )