Prosecutors called Evan Kohlmann to the stand Friday to testify against Mohamed Mohamud. The 21-year old defendant is on trial for a bomb plot developed in meetings with FBI undercover agents.
Kohlman is a consultant on international terrorism. He and his staff spend time on websites and Web forums affiliated with violent jihadists and analyze what they find for public and private clients.
Observers packed the courtroom to hear what he had to say.
Kohlmann is in the process of laying out six factors he considers key in deciding whether people espousing radical ideology are likely to commit an act of terrorism.
He said he found repeated messages attributed to Mohamud discussing a wish to travel abroad to Yemen and Denmark, to join violent jihadists.
He also noted correspondence between Mohamud and a man wanted, and ultimately jailed by, the Saudi government. This latter correspondence has been the subject of several prior witnesses’ testimony.
Kohlmann’s analysis was based on materials prosecutors presented him, as well as artifacts he found on his own.
He has yet to state his final conclusions. After his presentation, the government is expected to rest its case.
Defense attorneys will have a chance to cross-examine Kohlmann next week.
Earlier in the day, some of Mohamud’s college friends’ testified about how he behaved in the months and weeks prior to the day the plot was to unfold. They described him as friendly and outgoing. One witness recalled seeing Mohamud on what he later learned was the day of the planned incident. Mohamud told him, “I’m having the greatest morning of my life.”