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December 8, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Guilty pleas in plot to attack military center

Walli Mujahidh

One of two men accused of conspiring to attack a military processing station in Seattle in June pleaded guilty to three federal charges this morning in U.S. District Court.

Walli Mujahidh, 32, formerly of Los Angeles, is accused of plotting to kill U.S. military recruits in a machine-gun and grenade attack in hopes of inspiring like-minded radical Muslims in the U.S. to carry out terrorist attacks. Their target, according to federal prosecutors, was the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) on East Marginal Way South.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kill officers of the United States, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and unlawful possession of a firearm. Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to seek a sentencing range of 27 to 32 years on all three counts and to not pursue any other charges.

Sentencing is set for April 16.

Defense attorney Michelle Shaw said this morning that Mujahidh is ashamed and remorseful about what he has done.

Mujahidh and Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, 33, a felon and a Muslim convert, were arrested June 22.

They were named in a nine-count indictment July 7 alleging they conspired to murder officers and employees of the U.S. government, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (a grenade) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Those charges carry potential life sentences, and the firearm charge includes a mandatory-minimum 30-year sentence that must be served consecutively to any other sentences.

Police learned of the plot through a paid informant, who secretly recorded conversations with the men, according to the indictment.

According to the FBI, the informant recorded conversations with the men in which Abdul-Latif said he hoped the attacks would inspire other young Muslims to rise up against the West.

Abdul-Latif had posted angry anti-American and anti-Western videos on a YouTube channel and he railed against the wars in Afghanistan and the revolts in the Middle East that were pitting Muslim against Muslim.

According to court documents and law-enforcement sources, he had initially chosen Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a target at least partly because Stryker soldiers there are being court-martialed for allegedly murdering Afghan civilians. The target was changed later to the MEPS.

Abdul-Latif served time for robbery in Washington. Mujahidh has a history of mental illness.

“This defendant tried to carry out a plot to kill American servicemen and women, and other innocent citizens who happened to be at the federal facility on the day of the planned attack,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a news release. “I applaud the FBI, Seattle Police Department and the Joint Terrorism Task Force for their work in disrupting this plot and bringing Walli Mujahidh to justice.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: conspiracy, terrorism, U.S. Attorney's Office

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