Defense for terror suspect previews strategy

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Defense lawyers for an Oregon terrorism suspect gave a preview of their entrapment defense on Monday during the cross-examination of a retired FBI agent.

Mohamed Mohamud is accused of trying to detonate a weapon of mass destruction at a Portland Christmas tree-lighting in November 2010 when he was 19. His trial is scheduled for January.

The defense hasn’t challenged the government’s charge that Mohamud pressed a cell phone button during the FBI sting, believing it would set off explosives in a van.

His defense lawyers have said the government used tactics to box him in and make him vulnerable to persuasion by undercover agents, for instance putting him on a no-fly list that kept him from flying to Alaska to make money in a fishery for college in Oregon.

On Monday, former FBI agent Brad Petrie testified at a hearing in federal court that he interviewed Mohamud at Portland International Airport in June 2010 after Mohamud was turned away from the flight to Alaska.

Petrie, who had been waiting at the airport with an FBI surveillance team, said he didn’t tell Mohamud and his parents they had a choice to end the questioning and leave.

“We pretty much let them determine when the interview ended,” Petrie said in response to questions from federal public defender Stephen Sady.

“So the answer is no,” Sady responded.

“No,” Petrie agreed.

Flanked by his attorneys, Mohamud sat in court Monday in a blue prison jump suit. He has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 29, 2010.

FBI agents have said Mohamud’s father, Osman Barre, touched off the investigation when he frantically phoned agents to say his son’s planned to travel to Yemen, where U.S. authorities believed he would participate in a terrorism training camp.

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