A man who hoped to become a “martyr” in an attack on a Seattle military installation was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison on Monday.
The sentence is far less than the 27 years that Wali Mujahidh agreed to when he pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to murder US officers and to use a weapon of mass destruction.
“I would like to apologize to my country for my betrayal,” Mujahidh wrote in a letter that was read to the court this morning. “I would like to apologize to my religion. My actions were cowardly and shameful. I accept full responsibility.”
The letter is far more remorseful than statements Mujahidh made to FBI agents and Seattle police investigators after his arrest in 2011.
Mujahidh said then that he and co-conspirator Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif – both converts to a radical form of Islam – sought revenge for what they saw as the innocent killing of Muslims oversees by the US military. Mujahidh traveled from his home in Los Angeles to carry out the attack.
They planned to attack a military processing center in South Seattle with machine guns and grenades that were provided by a confidential informant who was working with the FBI and Seattle police.
“This would have been a devastating attack with a toll of 150 victims,” said assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg in court this morning.
Last year the defense reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that would have sentenced Mujahidh to at least 27 years in prison.
However, that agreement became unhinged when it was learned that the confidential informant had erased hundreds of texts messages he exchanged with his police handler. The defense claimed those lost texts could have contained information helpful to their case.
Abdul-Latif, the mastermind behind the plot, was sentenced to 18-years in prison last month – far less than the standard life sentence. Prosecutors say they reduced Mujahidh’s sentence out of fairness.