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Dallas bombing plot: Jordanian man pleads guilty

A Jordanian man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attempting to detonate what he thought was an active bomb beneath a downtown Dallas skyscraper.



Dallas: A Jordanian man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attempting to detonate what he thought was an active bomb beneath a downtown Dallas skyscraper.

Hosam Smadi, 19, pleaded guilty in federal court in Dallas to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

However, US District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn deferred accepting the plea Wednesday until the sentencing date, which was not immediately set. Lynn said she wanted a better understanding of the evidence before accepting the plea deal.

The crime is punishable by up to life in prison. If Lynn accepts the deal, however, Smadi would face a maximum 30 years in prison. Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge accusing Smadi of bombing a public place.

Smadi signed the agreement last Thursday. It was filed with the court on Tuesday.

According to court papers, Smadi acknowledged leaving what he thought was a truck bomb in a garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place building in September. The device was a decoy provided by FBI agents posing as al-Qaida operatives.

In his signed statement, Smadi said he parked a truck in the garage beneath the skyscraper, activated a timer connected to the decoy, then rode off with an undercover agent and waited to watch the explosion.

Smadi said he used a cell phone to detonate what he thought was the bomb, according to his statement. Instead, the phone rang an FBI number and Smadi was arrested.
``Smadi believed this was an active weapon of mass destruction,`` according to the plea agreement. ``Smadi believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage.``

The FBI said it had been monitoring Smadi after discovering him on an extremist website last year. Investigators said he acted alone and was not affiliated with any terrorist organizations.

Smadi`s public defenders have argued in court filings that their client exhibited signs of depression and mental illness when his parents separated and that he ``completely fell apart`` when his mother died of brain cancer. Peter Fleury told Lynn that a federal prison doctor had diagnosed Smadi as schizophrenic and that he had begun taking anti-psychotic and antidepressant medication.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said Smadi came to the US on a tourist visa in 2007, but stayed past the time he was allowed to be in the country.

PTI

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