- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
- See a drone? ‘Shoot it down,’ says Colorado ordinance
Would-be airport bomber receives 37 years in prison
SEATTLE — An Algerian man whose sentence for plotting to blow up the Los Angeles airport around the turn of the new millennium was thrown out for being too lenient was ordered Wednesday to spend 37 years in prison.
Ahmed Ressam, who had trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, was arrested in December 1999 when a customs agent noticed that he appeared suspicious as he drove off a ferry from Canada onto Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. A resulting search turned up a trunk full of explosives.
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour had twice ordered him to serve a 22-year term, but both times the sentences were rejected on appeal.
This time, Ressam’s attorneys conceded that he should face at least three decades to satisfy the appeals courts, but no more than 34 years.
The Justice Department, which previously sought sentences of 35 years and of life in prison, recommended a life sentence again because of the mass murder Ressam intended to inflict. In those pre-Sept. 11 days, it was “a virtually unimaginable horror,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Brunner told the court.
“If Mr. Ressam had succeeded,” she said, “it is likely hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives would have been lost.”
Ressam’s lawyer, Thomas Hillier, disagreed, pointing to a letter Ressam sent the judge this week in which he wrote: “I am against killing innocent people of any gender, color or religion. I apologize for my actions.”
Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they would review the ruling, and neither indicated whether they would appeal.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said that regardless of whether she agreed with the judge, the case represented a victory for the rule of law.
“We afforded a man who sought to do us the greatest harm the full due process of the law,” she said.
Judge Coughenour read his lengthy sentencing order from the bench, noting that of the 4,000 to 5,000 sentences he had handed down in his 31-year career, Ressam’s case was the only one he could remember in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed him too lenient.
Nevertheless he thanked the appeals judges for their guidance, saying that some cases are so long and difficult that a trial judge can lose perspective.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Nevada rescuers frenzied to find 4 kids, 2 adults lost in snow
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama eulogizes Mandela, calls him 'the last great liberator'
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- EDITORIAL: Colorado ruling takes the cake
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
The pursuit of all that is joyous in travelling the globe is the essence of The Good Life, whether its Hawaii or the South of France.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow