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