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Cooperating Terror Defendant James Ujaama Sentenced to Time Served

Long time terror defendant James Ujaama was finally sentenced yesterday. For his cooperation, he received a sentence of time served.

I've been writing about him since his arrest in 2002. He was initially arrested in Denver as a material witness in a case in Virginia, and then charged in federal court in Washington with trying to set up an al Qaida traing camp in Bly, Oregon. (The terror camp that never was.) After being detained in Seattle, he agreed to cooperate and pleaded guilty in exchange for a 2 year sentence. But he fled to Belize before sentencing, probably to avoid having to testify against Abu Hamza, the AQ Sheikh with one eye and hooks for hands, or as he later testified in 2009, because he was no longer trusted and didn't fit in. [More...]

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Tsarnaev Moved from USP to Supermax

I missed the news earlier this week that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was moved from the USP at Florence to ADX (Supermax.)

Supermax has 9 units and 6 maximum security levels, but because Tsarnaev has Special Administrative Measures (SAMS), restricting his ability to communicate with the outside world, he's likely in the Special Security Unit -- the H Unit Here are the 2013 regulations for the H Unit.

Even the H Unit has phases, similar to the step down programs of the Supermax general population units. Supposedly, inmates can work their way down to more favorable conditions.

Like what? With really good behavior, after a period of time, they can get a job out of their cells for an hour a day as an orderly, cleaning or mopping floors. And an expanded commissary list. But no ice cream. You have to be in a general population unit for that. Here's the Commissary List for the H Unit. And here's the list for the USP (US Penitentiary, High Security, General Population) at Florence. [More...]

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Full text of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Statement

Here is the full text of Dzhokhar's statement at his death penalty trial.

THE DEFENDANT : Thank you, your Honor, for giving me an opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, "Allah" among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness.

This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It's the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.


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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Speaks at Sentencing

Dzhohkar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for the Boston Marathon bombings. From live tweets of reporters Jim Armstrong and Patricia Wen in the courtroom.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke for about 4 minutes. He expressed remorse. "I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors." ..."I am sorry for the lives I have taken....for the suffering I have caused and the terrible damage I have done."

He left no doubt about his guilt:

"I am guilty of the bombing, let there be no lingering question about that."

He thanked his attorneys and said "I cherish their company." He said they have done a lot for his family. His defense attorney, Judy Clarke, told the Court he had tried to settle the case before trial. [More...]

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Robel Phillipos Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Robel Phillipos was sentenced to three years in prison today for his false statements to the FBI after the Boston Marathon bombings. He was ordered to pay a $25,000. fine and spend 1 to 3 years on supervised release after release from prison. He was also ordered to take random drug tests and undergo drug treatment. The judge said, "There’s a price to be paid for the failure of responsibility. There’s a price to be paid to the community."

The Judge granted him a voluntary surrender and did not order him into custody today.

The government had requested Phillipos serve 63 months in prison. My live blog of the hearing (taken from numerous accounts of reporters in the courtroom posted on Twitter -- Hashtag #Phillipos -- as well as my thoughts on why this is too harsh a sentence are below. [More...]

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Tsarnaev Friend Azamat Tazhayakov Sentenced to 42 Months

The federal judge presiding over the cases of three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnav sentenced Azamat Tazhayakov to 42 months (3 1/2 years) in prison today. He has already served 26 months. With good time (54 days a month after the first year) he should be done in a year or less, at which time he will be deported to Kazakhstan.

The Government had asked for four years. His lawyers asked for time served (26 months.) His guidelines, due to the terror enhancement, were 360 to life. As with Dias, the judge disregarded the enhancement since their obstruction did not involve terrorist acts. [More...]

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Jury Sentences Tsarnaev to Death on Some Counts

The jury has returned a sentence of death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Counts 4,5,9,10,14, and 15. See Jim Armstrong on Twitter for each finding.


The counts on which the jury voted for death pertain solely to Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard. The jury did not return death verdicts on counts with Officer Sean Collier or Krystle Campbell.

On the mitigating factors:

  • Only 3 jurors agreed he would not have committed the offense but for Tamerlan.

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Bin Laden Aide Sentenced to Life in Prison

Khalid al-Fawwaz, a Saudi and alleged top aide to Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison today for his role in the 1998 embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania.

He was not charged with helping to plan the attacks, which killed 224 and injured more than 4,000. Instead, prosecutors said he was bin Laden's "bridge to the West" in London, disseminating the al Qaeda leader's violent messages to media outlets and sending supplies to the group's members in Africa.

Related: From VICE: Why anti-terror proposals going after extremist ideas are counter-productive.

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Tsarnaev Jury to Consider 21 Mitigating Factors

The jury is now deliberating the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The Court has published the 24 page verdict form on PACER.

There are 21 mitigating factors the jury must consider, but they are not limited to those factors. Each juror can come up with additional mitigating factors on his or her own and assign whatever weight to the factors he or she deems appropiate. [More...]

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Defense Closing in Tsarnaev Trial

Judy Clarke is about to deliver her closing argument in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I'm following Reporter Jim Armstrong on Twitter. Worth mentioning: As Clarke goes through the mitigating factors, keep in mind they do not have to relate to the commission of the offense. [More...]

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Both Sides Rest in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Trial

Both sides rested their case today in the Dzhokar Tsarnaev trial. Closing arguments and deliberations begin Wednesday.

The defense ended its case with the testimony of Sister Helen Prejean. She testified she met with Tsarnaev five times over the past year and he expressed remorse.

"He said it emphatically. He said no one deserves to suffer like they did," said Prejean, the public face of the New Orleans-based Ministry Against the Death Penalty and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. "I had every reason to think that he was taking it in and that he was genuinely sorry for what he did."


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Omar Khadr: America's Shame

Update to my earlier post on Omar Khadr today: Driving home, I was listening to satellite radio reporting on Omar Khadr's release on bail. They were all suggesting he got off easy. That's preposterous.

I'm going to reprint a post below I wrote in March, 2010, which includes source links. I'm also adding links to additional case documents at the end.

I highly recommend this 81 page defense motion filed in his case which details his case, his history, the evidence and the torture and coercive treatment inflicted on him. His plea agreement is here. Here are the two diplomatic notes between the U.S. and Canada acknowledging Canada could release him at any time. My post on his sentencing is here. [More...]

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Tsarnaev Jury Hears About Life at Supermax

Yesterday and today, the defense in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial presented evidence about life at Supermax in Florence, CO.

Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sought Wednesday to convince jurors in the death-penalty case that Tsarnaev could end up in the country’s most secure federal prison, locked in a cell 23 hours a day, with limited communication with the outside world — if the jury votes for a life sentence.

...Under those conditions, Tsarnaev would be limited to two 15-minute telephone conversations with only immediate family members each month, his mail would be screened, and he would be confined to a single-inmate cell.


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Tsarnaev Prosecutors Threaten to Remove Defense Witnesses Before They Testify Witnesses

The Government reached a new low in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial this week, in my opinion. At a hearing outside the presence of the jury, AUSA William Weinreib complained about the security costs and FBI time spent ensuring the safety of five of Tsarnaev's relatives who traveled here from Russia to testify for him. They threatened to the FBI will take them back to Russia if the defense doesn't call them by Friday.

“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” federal prosecutor William Weinreb said during a closed-door meeting Monday with the defense and Judge George O’Toole, according to transcripts shown on the court's public terminal.

The Sixth Amendment compulsory process clause guarantees defendants the right to have witnesses brought to trial to testify for the defense: [More...]

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Tsarnaev Defense Begins Making Case for Life

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team began making the case for life instead of death today. From David Bruck's opening statement: (Taken from WBZ reporter Jim Armstrong's live tweets in court.) [More...]

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