Well, the jury rendered its verdict in the Portland bomb sting case today, convicting defendant Mohamed Mohamud of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The jury deliberated for about seven hours, or about a full day. It's been a hectic day for me since the verdict came out, with a lot of media interviews, so I'm just going to sketch some early thoughts that I hope to flesh out over the next few days.
1) Does 7 hours count as a short deliberation? Maybe, but then again, the OJ Simpson double homicide trial spanned nine months and yet the jury reached its decision in only four hours. Certainly the jury could've spent more time. But it also could've returned a guilty verdict in, say, 30 minutes if it was hellbent on rejecting the entrapment defense.
2) What's the implication for pending domestic terrorism cases involving undercover stings? By my count, there are at least three pending cases like this one -- Sami Osmakac in Tampa, Adel Daoud in Chicago, and Mohammad Nafis in New York -- and the defense lawyers there have got to be thinking harder about trying to get plea deals now.
3) Could it have made a difference if Mohamud had testified? I'm sure the defense team thought hard about this and they no doubt had very good reasons for resting without putting Mohamud on the stand. But you have to wonder, if he had been able to make a good impression, could he have sold the entrapment defense to the jury?
4) What's the likely sentence? I'll go through the Sentencing Guidelines later, but in a similar case in Baltimore, Antonio Martinez got 25 years.
5) Was I surprised? Not really. If he had been acquitted, I would've been surprised, but not shocked (even though it would've been the first time that an entrapment defense would've worked in a post-9/11 terrorism case). I think the key government evidence was that before the undercover agents got involved, Mohamud tried to get in touch with someone the government described as a suspected al Qaeda recruiter.
Anyway, I'll expand these thoughts in subsequent posts.