Man pleads guilty in US bomb plot, gets 28 years in jail
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 09:35
Washington: A man pleaded guilty to attempting to bomb a federal courthouse in Illinois in 2009 following which he was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment.

Appearing before an Illinois court yesterday, American national Michael Finton, 31, entered a plea of guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against property owned by the US, the Justice Department said.

Judge David Herndon sentenced Finton also known as "Talib Islam" to 336 months in prison.

"Michael Finton is one of a number of young Americans over the past two years who, under the influence of a radical and violent ideology, have sought to carry out acts of terrorism in the US," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Hinnen.

"Although a coordinated undercover law enforcement investigation thwarted Finton's plot to destroy the federal courthouse in Springfield, this case underscores the need to remain vigilant against the threat posed by homegrown extremism," he said.

US Attorney Lewis said, "Finton tried to bomb the federal courthouse with the intent to kill innocent civilians, committed public servants and dedicated first responders."

"This terrible attempt was prevented through excellent investigative work of the Springfield FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and assisting law enforcement agencies," he said.

According to the plea agreement and other documents filed in court, Finton admitted that on September 23, 2009, he travelled from Decatur to Springfield, where he knowingly took possession of a truck that he believed contained a bomb with approximately one ton of explosives.

The explosive device was actually inert.

Finton drove the truck to the federal courthouse and parked outside the building and across the street from the office of a US Congressman.

He then activated a timer on the fake bomb and got into a vehicle with an undercover law enforcement agent who he believed was acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda.

Finton then tried to detonate the bomb using a a cell phone after he and the undercover agent had driven a safe distance away, the Justice department statement said.

Prior to September 23, 2009, according to filed court documents, Finton met on several occasions with the undercover officer.

During a meeting in July 2009, Finton proposed bombing the Springfield courthouse and proposed that two car bombs be used, one to do the initial damage and another to attack the responders.

He also suggested that if the bomb was big enough it might also "take out" a congressional office across the street, the statement said.


First Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 09:35

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