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December 18, 2014

Closing arguments made in Minneapolis terrorism trial, case goes to jury

Closing arguments were made Wednesday afternoon during the trial of 46-year-old Mahamud Said Omar, the Minneapolis man accused of directing young Somali men to join the terrorist group al-Shabab and arranging support for the organization.

MPR reports Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty described Omar as an al-Shabab “team leader,” referring to a term used by an FBI agent during testimony Tuesday, and helped move more men to Somalia after a Minneapolis man carried out a suicide bombing in 2008.

Andrew Birrell, Omar’s attorney, countered by telling the jury that the government’s case rested on three unreliable witnesses that lied about traveling to Somalia to fight for al-Shabab, MPR says.

Birrell says the three travelers were offered plea deals in exchange for testimony and can’t be trusted, the Associated Press reports.

Jurors began deliberating at 2:45 p.m. and adjourned about 4:30 p.m., the Star Tribune says. The jury of eight women and four men will resume deliberations Thursday morning.