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Mukasey to argue before U.S. Supreme Court

March 12, 2008 at 10:20 AM

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey will seek to reinstate the sentence of an al-Qaida operative before the U.S. Supreme Court, officials said.

Mukasey will urge the justices to restore the sentence of Ahmed Ressam, convicted in a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport in 1999, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The last attorney general to handle a case before the nation's high court was Janet Reno in 1996, court officials said. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said it is custom -- not always followed -- for attorneys general to argue at least one case before the Supreme Court during their term.

Oral arguments for Mukasey, 66, a retired federal judge from New York, are scheduled for March 25.

Ressam was arrested in December 1999 after 124 pounds of explosives was found in the trunk of his car as he disembarked from a ferry in Port Angeles, Wash. He was convicted in 2001 of nine charges in connection with the plot, and sentenced to 22 years in prison after he stopped cooperating with the FBI. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals tossed the sentence in 2007 after finding that one of the charges was applied improperly.

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