Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-USF student pleads guilty to supporting terrorists

TAMPA — Ahmed Mohamed slouched in his chair in a federal courtroom, wearing his orange prison garb inside-out, his feet shackled. A translator sat by his side, at the ready.

As U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo read Mohamed's charge of providing material support to terrorists, the former University of South Florida engineering student subtly nodded his head. Then he leaned forward to his microphone. "I plead guilty," he said.

The plea Wednesday brought an anticlimactic end to the high-profile case against Mohamed, who agreed last week to forgo his impending trial and enter a guilty plea. In return, prosecutors will drop six other charges against him when he is sentenced in about three months.

Mohamed, 26, showed no emotion as he answered pro forma questions from Pizzo, who recommended at the end of the brief hearing that his guilty plea be accepted.

Afterward, one of his attorneys, Linda Moreno, said Mohamed spent long hours considering the possible life sentence he faced if convicted at trial.

"This was the result of a very arduous and long decision for Mr. Mohamed and his family," she said. "As his lawyers, we sought to minimize his risk … and this plea does accomplish that."

An Egyptian national, Mohamed was arrested Aug. 4, along with fellow USF student Youssef Megahed, 22, in Goose Creek, S.C. A deputy stopped their car for speeding, then discovered in its trunk what prosecutors alleged were low-grade explosives.

But it was a laptop found in the car that provided prosecutors with the basis for their charge of supporting terrorists.

On the computer, prosecutors said, they found a video Mohamed was said to have posted to YouTube in an effort to aid attempts by terrorists to murder employees of the United States, including military personnel. The video showed how a remote-controlled car could be turned into a bomb detonator.

Mohamed, who is Muslim, according to his father, now faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Notably, his plea agreement does not require him to testify against Megahed, who is scheduled to have a separate trial.

Thomas Kaplan can be reached at (813) 226-3404 or tkaplan@sptimes.com.

Ex-USF student pleads guilty to supporting terrorists 06/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008 9:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Largest Powerball jackpot won by single ticket in Massachusetts

    Blogs

    DES MOINES, Iowa - Powerball Product Group Chair Charlie McIntyre says the $758.7 million jackpot claimed by a ticket sold in Massachusetts is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history.

    A Powerball lottery sign displays the lottery prizes at a convenience store Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Northbrook, Ill. Lottery officials said the grand prize for Wednesday night's drawing has reached $700 million, the second -largest on record for any U.S. lottery game.
  2. Florida education news: Computer coding, guidance counseling, career planning and more

    Blogs

    SESSION STARTERS: State Sen. Jeff Brandes refiles legislation to allow Florida high school students to swap computer coding for foreign language credits.

  3. Rays morning after: Offense showing some life

    Blogs

     

  4. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  5. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]