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October 22, 2014

Guilty verdict in Minneapolis terrorism trial

The Minneapolis man accused of directing young men to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab was found guilty Thursday afternoon.

A federal jury convicted 46-year-old Mahamud Said Omar on all five terror-related counts he faced, the Associated Press reports. Omar could face life in prison.

The verdict comes after 10 days of testimony from government witnesses and family members of some of the 20 or more young recruits. Omar’s defense did not call any witnesses.

During closing arguments, 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, told the jury that the government’s case rested on three unreliable witnesses that lied about traveling to Somalia to fight for al-Shabab in exchange for shorter prison sentences.

The jury of eight women and four men were handed the case Wednesday afternoon.