From Staff Reporter Mike Carter:
A man who plotted to kill U.S. military personnel and workers at a Seattle military processing center will serve 18 years in prison and be supervised for 10 years, a federal judge ruled Monday.
That Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif did not get a life sentence reflects a troubled investigation involving a deceitful informant and a detective who destroyed evidence, said U.S. District Judge James Robart during the sentencing in Seattle.
Abdul-Latif pleaded guilty in December. The deal Abdul-Latif reached and the judge approved required Robart to sentenced him to between 17 and 19 years.
Robart criticized what he called the “at-best sloppy” destruction of evidence by the CI (confidential informant) — a five-time convicted sex offender paid more than $100,000 — and Seattle police Detective Samuel DeJesus. According to court documents, both the defense and FBI tried and failed to retrieve the data from the detective’s phone.
But Robart rejected the defense’s contention that the informant “manufactured” the plot. Robart said hours of recordings showed that the attack and the target were Abdul-Latif’s idea.
Abdul-Latif, formerly known as Joseph Anthony Davis, and co-defendant Walli Mujahidh planned to carry out the attack at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) on East Marginal Way South the day after July 4, 2011, according to charges.
Seattle police learned of the conspiracy two months earlier when the confidential informant said he was approached by Abdul-Latif about obtaining weapons and possibly taking part in the raid.
Abdul-Latif’s December plea came two weeks before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to determine how the prosecution would be affected by revelations that the informant admitted deleting hundreds of text messages from his phone during the investigation in summer 2011.
Police and the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force hired the informant to get information on the plot — including through taped conversations. The men were arrested after Abdul-Latif allegedly paid the informant for rifles and grenades that had been secretly disabled by federal agents.