- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Federal court sentences Briton to 33 months in weapons-to-Iran plot
Question of the Day
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a British businessman to nearly three years in prison Wednesday for trying to buy surface-to-air missile parts from undercover U.S. agents to resell to Iran.
Christopher Tappin, 65, pleaded guilty in November in a deal that opened the door for him to serve part of his sentence in Britain near his ailing wife. U.S. District Judge David Briones in El Paso said Wednesday that he would he would recommend that the U.S. Department of Justice approve any request by Tappin to be transferred to the United Kingdom.
Tappin read a brief statement during the sentencing hearing in which he apologized for the crime.
"I regret my actions and the impact they had on my family," he said. "I am looking forward to putting this incident behind me and returning to my previous unblemished life and my wife."
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to oppose any request by Tappin to serve part of his 33-month sentence in Britain. Along with approval from the Department of Justice, Tappin also needs approval from the British government to serve time in one of its prisons.
In 2006, Tappin associate Robert Gibson contacted a company set up by undercover U.S. agents to buy batteries for surface-to-air missiles. U.S. authorities alleged Tappin provided undercover agents with false documents to deceive authorities and circumvent the requirement for the batteries to be licensed by the U.S. government before being exported.
"We hope this sends a message to people that are selling defense materials that we monitor sales and shipments and that we are watching," federal prosecutor Greg McDonald said Wednesday.
Tappin must report to prison by March 8. His lawyers asked that he be allowed to report to a Pennsylvania prison, something the judge said he did not oppose. Tappinl likely will spend six to nine months in the United States before being sent back to Britain, Tappin's attorney, Dan Cogdell, said. There, he will serve no more than half of the remaining sentence, Mr. Cogdell said.
The two months he spent in jail before his plea will count toward his sentence, Mr. Cogdell said.
"I look forward to returning home to be near my friends and family, and especially my sick wife," Tappin said afterward.
Tappin fought extradition to the United States for two years until being denied a petition to take the case to Britain's Supreme Court. His extradition touched a nerve in Britain among those who believe extradition arrangements with the United States are unfairly weighted against British citizens.
After he was brought to Texas, Tappin was held at the Otero County Jail for about two months, where he initially was put in solitary confinement at his request. Tappin later was released on bond and has since lived near his lawyer's house in a gated community in Houston.
Mr. Gibson, another British national, pleaded guilty in April 2007 and was sentenced to 24 months in prison. An Oregon man, Robert Caldwell, was found guilty in July of that year and received a 20-month sentence.
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- UHLER and FERRARA: Obamacare, the end of the progressive era
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow