Providing what may be a glimpse at the defense ahead for Mohamed Osman Mohamud, one of the defense attorneys for the 19-year-old bomb suspect said today in court that the government “was basically grooming" his client.
The remarks by defense attorney Stephen Sady came at the initial court appearance for Mohamud, who was arrested Friday outside Pioneer Courthouse Square by the FBI on charges that he plotted to place a bomb at the holiday tree lighting attended by thousands.
Mohamud came into the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate John Acosta about 1:45 pm. The defendant was smiling and had his hands shackled. Only a handful of reporters and family members were allowed into the courtroom (this post was based on an account provided by the pool of reporters allowed in).
Mohamud greeted his lawyers with a smile and a handshake in court.
Acosta denied Sady's request for a preliminary hearing so defense attorneys could question the FBI agent who wrote the affidavit that underpinned the arrest. Sady said “this situation is very unusual" because the detail-laden affidavit "became basically a press release."
“The arrest is obviously timed for maximum publicity and maximum impact,” Sady said.
Mohamud pleaded not guilty to a single count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Asked if he understood the charges against him and his rights, he responded in a soft voice, ”Yes, your honor.”
Acosta did not set bail and set a trial date of Feb. 1.