Columbus, Ohio

Federal judge delays sentencing man who plotted U.S. attacks

COLUMBUS — A federal judge on Friday delayed a sentencing hearing for a man who plotted to kill military members in the U.S., with the judge saying he needed more information, including the man’s current state of mind.

It’s not uncommon for judges to ask for extra details about a defendant and a case before a hearing. Less common is for those requests to come during a scheduled sentencing, which on Friday was attended by several members of defendant Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud’s family, prosecutors, defense attorneys and FBI agents.

Judge James Graham said the case presented troubling issues, including the fact that Mohamud went to Syria two months after being sworn in as a U.S. citizen in Columbus.

The government alleges Mohamud became a citizen to obtain a U.S. passport. Mohamud bought a ticket to Greece with a stop in Turkey, where he disembarked before going to Syria, prosecutors have said in court documents. They say Mohamud never intended to go to Greece.

Mohamud, who was born in Somalia but came to the U.S. as a child, was arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to plotting those attacks after becoming radicalized in Syria. The attacks were never carried out.

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