News | Oregon | The Mohamud Trial

Court To Shield Undercover FBI Operatives During Mohamud Trial

OPB | Dec. 19, 2012 3:43 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 18, 2013 3:10 p.m. | Portland

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FBI operatives will be protected as they testify in a prominent counter-terrorism case early next year. Federal attorneys are in final negotiations about what evidence the jury may hear.

Mohamed Mohamud

Mohamed Mohamud

Multnomah County Jail

Judge Garr King has signed an order stating undercover FBI operatives will be protected as they testify in the case of Mohamed Mohamud.

The 21-year-old was raised in Beaverton. He’s accused of attempting to set off a dummy bomb at Portland’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, in a 2010 FBI sting. Investigators say he had to be drawn out before he got in touch with Al Qaeda or similar groups. But his attorneys plan to argue he was entrapped by the FBI, with a series of interactions and surveillance that began when Mohamud was 17.

Two undercover operatives will testify. They met with Mohamud a half dozen times before the day the hoax plot spooled out. Prosecutors convinced Judge King the operatives need protection — they’ll be allowed to wear light disguises, and use fake names they assumed during the operation. Also, most observers will be cleared from the courtroom.

In a separate ruling, Judge King allowed unrestricted court use of recordings made of the operatives. In doing so, he acknowledged some tapes might be embarrassing to people involved.

April Baer is covering the Mohamud trial for OPB. You can reach her at abaer@opb.org.

Find more Mohamud trial coverage here.

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