“Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien…had asked Common Pleas Magistrate Elizabeth Watters for a bond of $2.5 million, calling Mohamud a public-safety threat and a flight risk. She set a bond of $1 million.” A public-safety threat: was he plotting a jihad mass murder attack in Ohio?
“West Side man in terrorism case made Middle East trip,” by John Futty, The Columbus Dispatch, February 26, 2015:
Relatives and friends of a West Side man who is accused of having ties to terrorists were in court yesterday to show support for him.
At one point, Abdirahman S. Mohamud turned, waved and smiled to some of the six women and five men in the court, and one woman waved back. None of his family, however, would talk to reporters.
Little new information was released yesterday about Mohamud, 23, who is accused of having contact with terrorists in the Middle East. He didn’t speak during his arraignment in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien did say that a tablet computer was among the items Mohamud supplied to members of a terrorist organization during a trip to the Middle East.
O’Brien had asked Common Pleas Magistrate Elizabeth Watters for a bond of $2.5 million, calling Mohamud a public-safety threat and a flight risk. She set a bond of $1 million.
Mohamud’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, had argued that O’Brien’s request was excessive for a defendant facing what Shamansky called two “low-level felonies,” the most serious of which is punishable by no more than three years in prison.
He said his client, who was born in Somalia, is a U.S. citizen, has lived in central Ohio since about 1999 and has strong family ties in the area.
“He is entitled to a reasonable bond,” said Shamansky, who entered not-guilty pleas for his client.
Mohamud, of Dunlane Court, was arrested on Saturday and indicted on Monday on one count each of soliciting or providing support for acts of terror, a third-degree felony, and money laundering in support of terrorism, a fifth-degree felony. The arrest followed a 1 1/2 year investigation by the FBI, O’Brien said.
In a motion filed on Tuesday, O’Brien wrote that Mohamud “provided material support and resources or electronic devices to persons engaged in terrorism in the Middle East and has traveled to that area of the world.”
Prosecutors have provided few specifics about those activities, including whether Mohamud is suspected of planning terrorist attacks in central Ohio. The local office of the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office have declined to comment on the case.
“There’s not a lot of meat on these bones,” Shamansky said of the allegations.
O’Brien said Mohamud traveled to the Middle East, where he met with relatives and others linked to a “federally designated terrorist organization.” He declined to name the group but said after the hearing that it is “a subgroup of a terrorist organization that people would recognize.”
Mohamud reportedly traveled to Syria, but O’Brien would not discuss any countries that he visited.
O’Brien said the federal investigation is ongoing and likely will result in more-serious federal charges against Mohamud.
Shamansky, who was hired by Mohamud’s family, said he assumes that “the federal case will rear its head and this case will become secondary.”
Watters said she could not consider any potential federal charges in setting bond on the state charges.
At $1 million, Mohamud can’t afford to pay a bail-bond agent the necessary premium to gain his release from jail, Shamansky said.
If Mohamud does get out of jail, Watters said he must be under house arrest, surrender his passport and not use the Internet or transfer funds out of the country.
After numerous reporters asked Shamansky for more information about Mohamud, including whether he was in college, Shamansky said, “He’s been helping his mother, who has a serious back issue.”
Hassan Omar, who leads the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said he talked with Mohamud’s mother yesterday.
“She said he’s innocent,” Omar said.
He said he fears that the arrest will tarnish the community’s image here.
“We don’t want to be part of the problem. We want to be part of the solution,” Omar said. “We are here. We are American.”…