PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the case against Mohamed Mohamud, the so-called Christmas Tree Bomber who was convicted in 2014
Mohamud was 19-year-old when the FBI arrested him in Nov. 2010. He was later convicted of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, attempted to detonate a vehicle bomb at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
During trial, prosecutors argued that he attempted to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van that was parked near the tree lighting ceremony. Mohamud had been monitored closely for months as his alleged bomb plot developed, according to the FBI.
In Oct. 2014, United States District Court Judge Garr M. King, who presided over Mohamed’s 14-day trial, said “the intended crime was horrific,” and that [Mohamud], even though he was presented with options by undercover FBI employees, “never once expressed a change of heart.”
King sentenced Mohamud was ordered to serve 30 years in prison, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.
Mohamud has appealed his conviction and sentence.
After hearing the arguments from the attorneys, including the ACLU in a friend-of-the-court brief, the judges took the case under advisement and will issue a ruling at an undetermined time.
Civil rights attorneys say surveillance evidence used to convict a Somali-American man who plotted to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was unconstitutionally gathered through the U.S. government’s warrantless foreign surveillance program.
Mohamud he says he was entrapped by undercover federal agents posing as al-Qaida members who provided the fake bomb and spied on his electronic communications through the program.
U.S. prosecutors defended the program in a federal appellate courtroom Wednesday, saying it allows information gathering without a warrant on Americans who communicate with foreigners whose names appear in NSA databases.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.