People of Northwest Public Radio
Tue March 26, 2013
Seattle Man Gets 18 Years For Terrorism Plot After Police Destroy Evidence
A Seattle man received an eighteen-year prison sentence on terrorism charges on Monday. He was convicted of plotting to attack a military installation in Seattle. KUOW’s John Ryan reports from Seattle.
35-year-old Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif pled guilty to conspiracy to murder government officials and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. The plot, involving Abdul-Latif, a friend of his and a Seattle police informant, was to use machine guns and grenades to attack a processing center where military recruits go when they enter the armed services. Abdul-Latif purchased weapons from the informant and made specific plans how to attack the facility on East Marginal Way South.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan called it a classic case of terrorism.
Durkan: “In addition.. This sentence sends a very strong message to other who would harm us. Don’t. Don’t try.”
The defense maintained that the police informant manufactured the plot and egged on the defendant along the way. But Judge James Robart disagreed. He said Abdul-Latif had a history of espousing political violence long before he met the informant.
Throughout the hearing, Abdul-Latif’s wife was murmuring prayers from the second row of the audience. She was covered in black except for her hands and her eyes. In his black robe and bow tie, Judge James Robart criticized the investigation as sloppy at best.
Seattle Police Detective Samuel DeJesus, the informant’s handler, had destroyed around 400 text messages between him and his informant. The informant destroyed other evidence on his phone as well.
After the hearing, the defendant’s wife, Binta Moussa-Davis, denounced the sentence.
Moussa-Davis: “They destroyed the evidence! Why [would] you destroy 400 messages if you know you are right? Because you know you are not right. That’s why.”
Defense attorneys said the informant was paid nearly $100,000 for bringing in the defendant.
“It is not saints who can bring us the sinners,” U.S. Attorney Durkan said. “But that’s where we get our information.”
Abdul-Latif would have faced a minimum 30-year sentence, and possible life in prison, for his charges. Prosecutors agreed to a plea agreement of between 17 and 19 years after the destruction of evidence came to light.
Durkan said, even with the shorter sentence, Abdul-Latif would be “a very old man” by the time he got out of prison.
Eighteen years from now, Abdul-Latif would be 53 years old, one year younger than Durkan is today.
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