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Mohamud Trial: Botched Recording Takes Center Stage In Court

A botched recording took center stage Friday morning at the trial of an Oregonian accused of a 2010 bomb plot. An FBI agent testified why a key face-to-face encounter was not recorded.

Agent Mario Galindo has ten years experience helping undercover agents record their operations. He explained he’d fully charged and checked the recorder in advance of the first in-person meeting with Mohamed Mohamud. Investigators wanted to know if Mohamud had a passive interest in violent jihad, or was predisposed to commit terrorism.

Sketch by Deborah Marble

Sketch by Deborah Marble

Galindo said he packed the device in its case the afternoon before the meeting and put it in his van. He said that at some point, the machine switched into “on” mode, and proceeded to record for about nine hours overnight. Galindo said he thought the switch was triggered by pressure inside the case. The battery ran down minutes before the meeting began.

Defense attorney Steve Sady pressed Galindo about whether an electronic marker on the recording would indicate whether someone tampered with the battery. Galindo said he didn’t think so.

The defense has pointed out that without a recording, jurors have only the FBI’s word that Mohamud conceived the bomb plan himself.

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

Find more Mohamud trial coverage here.

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