Senior US District Judge Garr M. King violated Mohamed Mohamud's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him by allowing the FBI agents that entrapped him to testify under false names while wearing disguises. This left Mohamed's defense team, which also included one of my current attorneys, with no way to investigate them. That is important because nobody except for the government knows what those agents have done in the past. Everyone should have the right to know who is testifying against them. For all anyone knows those guys could have a long history of setting people up, making statements that are not consistent, or flat out lying. That type of thing needs to be available for defendants.
I got to know Mohamed as the nice black kid next door during the summer of 2012. I was kept as isolated as possible due to a court ordered phone ban and on many days he was the only person I had to talk to. When I first met him I did not know what he was in for. He never really talked about his case except to say that he had over 10,000 pages in discover, a comment he made in response to me griping about having hundreds. I got to know him as a person and we had a lot in common. We both attended the same university, but years apart for instance. I was better off for being his neighbor and I think that if the government had tried to steer him down the right path that he would not be in prison today.
The right thing to do when someone displays signs of destructive thinking is to encourage them to do other things. Not fan the flames by putting the person on a no fly list and costing him a job opportunity. I think everyone could relate to him when they think of attacks on their livelihood. That is why I asked him, "why would you park that van at Nordstrom when there was a perfectly good federal courthouse just a few blocks away?" He did not answer that question of course.
The only thing about Mohamed that struck me as odd was how seriously he takes that Islam stuff. For instance he would go weeks at a time without eating during the day. I call that crazy, but he calls it Ramadan. Otherwise he seemed completely normal. And he can take a joke. During Ramadan I would always slip just the Food Day or the grocery store ads featuring mouth watering food from my Oregonian under his door. Then once he ate at night he could see the rest of the paper. One day I drew a cartoon of him titled "Mohamud Cartoon" and slipped it under his door. He was really mad at first because he thought that I was insulting his prophet, but then I pointed out that the cartoon was of a real guy named Mohamud and that guy was him. Then he was upset that the cartoon depicted him as a homosexual, but not for very long and we still remained friends. Eventually my phone ban was lifted after my lawyer told the judge that by comparison my neighbor was accused of using a phone to set off a fake bomb and he was not banned from the phone, so I should not be either. I was then moved to a normal unit, but I kept in touch with Mohamed via the mail for awhile. His sentence was excessive to say the least.