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Appeals Court Affirms Convictions Against Minnesota Terrorists

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Minnesota is erroneously known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

It has 12,000, but that's not important right now. What is important is a federal appeals court decision involving three convicted terrorists in Minnesota.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decades-long sentences in the nation's largest probe of terrorist recruitment. But why Minnesota?

Minnesota Terrorism

It's not something in the water, but it's something. The appeals court decision follows new federal charges in Minnesota against domestic terrorist cells and investigations into money pouring out of the state to overseas terrorist groups.

In the cases of Mohamed Farah, Abdirahman Daud, and Guled Ali Omar, it was ISIS. The trio were convicted of planning to murder and provide support to the infamous terrorist group.

Glenn Bruder, one of the defense attorneys, said the trial judge erroneously instructed jurors they could convict the men of conspiracy to commit murder if they intended "willfully to act in callous and wanton disregard" of human life.

"Which in this case means that simply joining ISIS inevitably makes a person liable for murder," he said.

Overwhelming Evidence

Writing for the Eighth Circuit, Judge Raymond Gruender said there was "compelling testimony" and "overwhelming evidence" against the defendants.

The evidence included secret recordings by an FBI informant and a co-conspirator. Abdullahi Yusuf, who was stopped from leaving the country before cooperating with authorities, testified that the defendants wanted to kill for ISIS. Farah and Daud are serving 30-year sentences, and Omar is on a 35-stretch.

Meanwhile, authorities are following a trail of $100 million in cash that left Minnesota in suitcases last year. Investigators said some of that money went to fund terrorism.

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