"Hammadi's defense attorney, Jim Earhart of Louisville, said his client 'grew up in a different world' and never intended to get caught up in shipping weapons and explosives to al-Qaida in Iraq," but you know how these things can just happen to someone. You can be just going about your business, walking the dog, buying groceries, and whammo! Suddenly you find yourself shipping weapons to al-Qaeda! I hate when that happens.
"Iraqi man pleads guilty in Ky. terrorism case," by Brett Barrouquere for the Associated Press, August 21 (thanks to Kenneth):
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An Iraqi man pleaded guilty Tuesday to 10 charges of conspiring to send weapons, cash and explosives to al-Qaida in Iraq and two counts of lying to federal immigration agents to get into the United States and stay in the country.
Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 24, gave simple "yes" and "I plead guilty" answers to questions from U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in federal court in Louisville. The surprise plea came a week before Hammadi was set to stand trial on the charges in Bowling Green, Ky., where he and a co-defendant were arrested in May 2011 after a federal sting operation.
Hammadi, who did not have a plea agreement with prosecutors, faces 25 years to life in federal prison plus millions of dollars in fines when he's sentenced Dec. 5. He had been scheduled for trial Aug. 28 in Bowling Green. The co-defendant, 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan, previously pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 3 in Bowling Green.
The plea came as good news to soldiers who fought near the city of Bayji, Iraq, in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad in 2005, where Hammadi and Alwan told the FBI they worked as insurgents. Six Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers died in that area in August 2005 and Hammadi and Alwan told the FBI and an informant that they were active insurgents there....
Hammadi's defense attorney, Jim Earhart of Louisville, said his client "grew up in a different world" and never intended to get caught up in shipping weapons and explosives to al-Qaida in Iraq. Earhart described Hammadi as willing to plead guilty rather than go through the rigors of a trial to achieve the same result.
"He's hesitant. He's 24 years-old," Earhart said. "He's looking at 25 years to life. Who wouldn't be?"
Earlier in the day at a pre-trial hearing, U.S. Justice Department attorney Larry Schneider said the government has "definitive proof" linking Hammadi to insurgent attacks after the American-led invasion of Iraq....
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Calhoun spelled out nine charges against Hammadi involving attempts to ship sniper rifles, cases of C4 explosives, rocket propelled grenades, hand grenades, machine guns and wads of cash to al-Qaida in Iraq from January 2011 until the sting operation closed in May 2011. Calhoun also laid out count 10, which involved an attempt to send Stinger missile systems and counts 11 and 12, which charged Hammadi with lying about prior associations with terrorist organizations on a form to enter the United States as a refugee and another form seeking permanent legal resident status....