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Defense Grills Operative On Underlying Motives

One of the operatives who worked with Mohamed Mohamud on a false plot said the defendant showed up with a complete plan. But defense attorneys are exploring potential problems with that story.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud booking photo.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud booking photo.

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

The FBI employee, identified as “Hussein,” told defense counsel Steven Wax during a cross-examination that Mohamud’s plan was fully formed, and, in Hussein’s words, “really good” when he first met the young man. Mohamud was 19 at the time.

But Wax pointed out that Mohamud had been in contact with other other federal agents for several months and might have been influenced by them. Wax noted inconsistencies in things Mohamud told the agents, and shared examples of Mohamud’s bragging that he was a rapper and had obtained a gun. “You had no sense,” Wax asked, “this might be a teenaged fantasy?” Hussein maintained he did not.

Wax also dissected, line by line, several conversations the operatives had with Mohamud. A pattern emerged of operatives offering Mohamud a chance to bow out of the plan, then swiftly changing the subject.

Hussein said he considered this part of the normal flow of conversation.

April Baer is covering the Mohamud trial for OPB. You can reach her at

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