PORTLAND — A federal judge has canceled the sentencing date of a Somali-American man convicted of plotting to bomb a 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland’s town square.
The Oregonian reported that U.S. District Judge Garr King canceled the date after the government’s admission last week that warrantless overseas wiretaps helped make its case against Mohamed Mohamud.
The court expects new motions to be filed based on the government’s notification, according to a notation in the court docket. “If sentencing remains appropriate, the court will reset the sentencing hearing after it rules on the anticipated motions,” the notation says.
Mohamud’s attorneys and federal prosecutors met in the judge’s chambers Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors disclosed last week that they offered evidence in court proceedings that was derived from warrantless surveillance of a foreign target outside the U.S. under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
FISA, as it is known, allows intelligence agencies to physically and electronically eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and legal residents suspected of acting as agents of foreign governments.
The law was amended in 2008 to allow the U.S. to electronically eavesdrop on foreign targets even when the surveillance happens to pick up the emails or phone calls of Americans, the newspaper said.
Mohamud had been scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18 for attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction. He was arrested Nov. 26, 2010, after pressing a button on a cellphone that he believed would detonate a 1,800-pound diesel-and-fertilizer bomb near thousands of people at the annual holiday gathering.
The bomb was a fake supplied by undercover FBI agents posing as al-Qaida recruiters.