Jordanian man to plead guilty to Texas bomb plot
DALLAS // A Jordanian man accused of trying to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper has agreed to enter a guilty plea in return for no more than 30 years in prison, according to federal court documents filed yesterday. Hosam Smadi, 19, agreed to plead guilty in a deal with prosecutors to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which is punishable by up to life in prison. But US district Judge Barbara Lynn wouldn't be allowed to sentence Smadi to more than 30 years if she accepts the deal.
Lynn scheduled a new arraignment for Smadi today and is expected to rule on whether to accept the plea. The agreement was signed by Smadi on Thursday and filed in federal court in Dallas yesterday. Smadi has admitted leaving what he thought was a lorry bomb in a garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place building in downtown Dallas in September. The device was a decoy provided by FBI agents posing as al Qa'eda operatives.
Smadi acknowledged in a written statement that he parked the lorry in the garage beneath the skyscraper, activated a timer connected to the decoy, then rode with an undercover agent and waited to watch the explosion. Smadi also admitted using a cell phone to detonate what he thought was the bomb, according to his signed statement. Instead, the phone rang an FBI number and Smadi was arrested. "Smadi believed this was an active weapon of mass destruction," according to the statement. "Smadi believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage."
The FBI said it had been monitoring Smadi after discovering him on an extremist website last year. Investigators said he acted alone and was not affiliated with any terrorist organisations. In court papers, Smadi's federal public defenders have argued that their client exhibited signs of depression and mental illness when his parents separated and that he "completely fell apart" when his mother died of brain cancer.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said that Smadi came to the US on a tourist visa in 2007, but overstayed the time he was allowed to be in the country. * AP
Published: May 26, 2010 04:00 AM