A 20-year-old Jordanian man who pleaded guilty to trying to bomb a Dallas skyscraper could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.
A Jordanian man who pleaded guilty to trying to bomb a Dallas skyscraper could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison at a hearing on Monday in U.S. District Court.
Hosam Smadi, 20, admitted in May that he plotted to blow up Fountain Place, a 60-story office tower in downtown Dallas, in September 2009.
The explosive device was fake. It was provided by undercover FBI agents, who said they came across Smadi in an online group of extremists and then set up an elaborate sting operation with undercover operatives posing as terrorists.
Smadi, an illegal immigrant who worked at a fast-food restaurant in Italy, Texas, had faced up to life in prison. But in a deal with prosecutors, he agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of no more than 30 years.
At Monday's hearing before U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn, it's not clear if prosecutors plan to play incriminating videotapes of Smadi. The FBI tapes include a seven-minute message that Smadi intended to send to Osama bin Laden, prosecutors said.
Smadi made the video in a Dallas hotel room, but it was never actually sent to bin Laden.
Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said she could not discuss the evidence that prosecutors will present in court.
In his last court appearance on May 26, Smadi admitted he drove a truck containing what he believed to be a bomb into the parking garage at Fountain Place and later used a cell phone to try to detonate it. He said he believed the device would explode and cause extensive damage. The truck, provided by undercover agents, was rigged with a real-looking explosive device that was fake, the FBI said.
Lynn told Smadi he would likely be deported after serving his sentence and would never be allowed to return to the United States.
Smadi's attorneys have said they plan to show evidence he suffers from schizophrenia and depression. They also subpoenaed several family members from Jordan to testify.
Despite his guilty plea, Smadi claimed he was the victim of entrapment in a letter last month to the Dallas Morning News.
"I would never do this if the intelligence didn't wash my brain," he wrote.
Smadi's court-appointed public defenders did not return repeated calls seeking comment.