PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A teenager pleaded not guilty Monday to a federal charge he tried to set off a bomb during a popular city Christmas tree-lighting event in Corvallis, Ore.
Following a lengthy FBI sting operation, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, of Corvallis, a U.S. citizen born in Somalia, was arrested Friday when he thought he was triggering a car bomb with his cellphone in a packed Pioneer Courthouse Square, investigators said.
During a brief plea hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta in Portland, Mohamud's lead attorney, Stephen Sady, criticized the FBI's allegedly overreaching tactics, saying the "quite sophisticated" government agents were "basically grooming the individual," The Register-Guard reported.
Court documents indicate Mohamud e-mailed an undercover FBI operative June 25, saying he felt "betrayed by my family" because his parents wouldn't allow his participation in jihad, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Monday. After he and undercover agents detonated an explosives-filled backpack as a trial run in a remote area, Mohamud made a video in which he said living in the United States "is a sin." He also allegedly said he had thought about carrying out an operation "something like Mumbai" -- in which terrorists attacked India's financial and entertainment hub and killed 166 people -- since he was 17.
In the video, Mohamud says, "To my parents, who held me back from jihad in the cause of Allah, I say to them, if you make allies with the enemy, then Allah's power will ask you about that on the day of judgment ... ."
Representatives of the Somali American community said in a statement Sunday that Mohamud's father, Osman Barre, asked the media to "please respect his privacy" and to direct any media questions to Sady.
Mohamud has also been accused of date rape while a student at Oregon State University, the Gazette-Times of Corvallis reported.
The rape allegedly occurred Oct. 31, 2009, after a Halloween party at a Corvallis fraternity house, Benton county District Attorney's Office documents say.
The woman filed a report at the campus office of the Oregon State Police but after tests were done, police found no evidence to proceed with the case.