Yahya Farooq Mohammad, an Indian citizen, Nov. 6 was sentenced to nearly three decades behind bars for his role in the killing of a Toledo, Ohio, federal judge.
Mohammad, 39, had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support of resources to terrorists and solicitation to commit a crime of violence in July (see earlier India-West here).
The plea essentially accepted the 27 and a half year federal prison sentence — doled out Nov. 6 — in lieu of a trial and possible life sentence. It also calls for him to be deported when the sentence is served, according to a Cleveland.com report.
Mohammad was arrested in 2015 along with his brother, Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, and brothers Asif Ahmed Salim and Sultane Room Salim. The other three men have pleaded not guilty in the case and are awaiting trial.
Following his arrest on terrorism charges, Mohammad tried to orchestrate the killing of the judge presiding over his case, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary, from his prison cell, prosecutors said, according to the report.
The four men are accused of conspiring to gather money and equipment to provide support to Anwar al-Awlaki, the late American-born, radical Muslim cleric whose English language videos and blog posts inspired a number of Western recruits to al-Qaida, as well as acts of terrorism, federal prosecutors said, the report added.
Mohammad, born in the United Arab Emirates, traveled in 2009 with two other people to Yemen in an attempt to meet with Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, it said.
He was unable to find Awlaki, so he instead gave $22,000 to one of the cleric's associates, prosecutors added.
Mohammad studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004. He and his brother, also a citizen of India, married U.S. citizens.
In 2016, while awaiting trial in his terrorism case, Mohammad told another inmate at the Lucas County Corrections Center that he wanted Zouhary kidnapped and was willing to pay $15,000 to make it happen. The inmate introduced Mohammad to an undercover FBI agent, according to reports.
Pre-sentencing court documents filed last month by the defense said the other inmate pretended to show an interest in converting to Islam and then concocted the scheme against the judge, the Associated Press reported.
Attorney Thomas Durkin said that even though the other inmate invented the plan against the judge, tape recordings of those discussions made a defense highly risky and improbable for Mohammad, the AP said.
The inmate, Durkin wrote, saw Mohammad as “his get out of jail free card from his 40-year state court sentence of imprisonment,” according to the report.
But the inmate later stopped working with prosecutors and contacted Mohammad’s wife and his attorney once he realized his sentence and other pending charges weren’t going away, Durkin said, the report added.
Mohammad's wife – who was not charged – gave the agent a $1,000 down payment.