Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prosecutors cite evidence of hatred by former USF student

TAMPA — Ahmed Mohamed called the United States a "vile nation" and on several occasions characterized Americans as "stupid people," prosecutors say in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday in federal court.

In a letter dated April 1 to a Hillsborough County jail deputy, Mohamed "congratulated" the deputy on a recent Pentagon announcement that 4,000 U.S. troops had died in the Middle East, prosecutors said.

"Next to that line, he drew what appears to be a face with a smile on it," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer wrote in the court filing, calling the handwritten note "the coldest statement of this defendant and the most telling as to his hatred and disdain for the United States."

Prosecutors hope U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday will take their memo into consideration on Friday before sentencing Mohamed, 27, who pleaded guilty in June to providing material support to terrorists.

The Egyptian national and former University of South Florida student faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Lyann Goudie declined comment until she has read the government's memo.

Mohamed and fellow student Youssef Megahed, 22, were arrested Aug. 4, 2007, in Goose Creek, S.C., after a deputy stopped them for speeding and found what experts described as low-grade explosives in the trunk. The men have said they were fireworks.

Prosecutors have said that in July 2007, Mohamed posted a video on YouTube that explained how to transform a toy remote-controlled car into a detonator. The 12-minute video is narrated by a man speaking Arabic with an Egyptian accent. The video's narrator says it's meant to "save one who wants to be a martyr for another day in battle."

Mohamed remains in custody while Megahed is out on bail. His trial on illegally transporting explosives materials has been delayed while prosecutors appeal a judge's decision to toss out some of the evidence against Megahed.

In Tuesday's court filing, Hoffer appeared to indicate that the prosecutions intends to present evidence at sentencing about "other criminal or bad acts" by Mohamed.

The sentencing memo shows that in Mohamed's application for a student visa in October 2006, he acknowledged that he had previously been arrested or convicted of an offense or crime. He admitted to a 2003 arrest in Egypt, where he was detained for more than four months, according to court records. Mohamed had insisted to FBI agents in South Carolina that he had been a political detainee, Hoffer said.

"During the course of his limited time in the United States, the defendant reflected a virulent anti-American attitude on repeated occasions," Hoffer wrote.

Prosecutors have presented no evidence on what they think Mohamed and Megahed intended to do with the explosive materials in the trunk.

Kevin Graham can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Prosecutors cite evidence of hatred by former USF student 11/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008 1:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Toddler, 1, drowns in spa at birthday party in Trinity


    TRINITY — A toddler drowned at a birthday party Saturday evening and died at the hospital, authorities say, after his parents found him in a spa.

  2. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  3. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  4. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  5. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.