Terror Suspect Accused of Plotting Judge’s Murder

     (CN) — While awaiting trial on charges that he conspired to support violent jihad, an Emirati man tried to put a hit on the judge presiding over his case, federal prosecutors say.
     The new federal indictment filed Wednesday in Ohio says a jailhouse snitch blew the whistle on Yahya Farooq Mohammad’s conspiracy.
     Mohammad, 37, has been incarcerated at the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo for the last 10 months on terror charges.
     One of Mohammad’s fellow inmates in Toledo allegedly told the FBI that at Mohammad began talking about hiring someone to kill the judge in his case, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary, back in March.
     In April, according to the complaint, Mohammad said he wanted Zouhary “kidnapped and murdered.”
     Prosecutors say at this point the FBI sent in an undercover to pose as the jailhouse snitch’s hitman associate.
     Mohammad told the snitch he would pay $15,000 for Zouhary’s death, and the snitch told Mohammad to have $1,000 ready upfront as a down payment, according to the indictment.
     The government says Mohammad used predesignated code words when he called the undercover from prison to work out the details.
     “The sooner would be good, you know,” Mohammad told the undercover, according to the indictment, when asked about when he wanted the murder committed.
     Prosecutors say Mohammad then called his wife and told her to get the down payment ready.
     The indictment abbreviates the name of Mohammad’s wife as N.T., noting that she called the undercover on May 3 to coordinate paying him $1,000.
     Two days later, the undercover met Mohammad’s wife at her office in Bolingbrook.
     After N.T. handed over the $1,000 in an envelope, according to the indictment, she asked Mohammad about his plans to get the other $13,000.
     At another meeting on May 16, the undercover “showed N.T. a photograph that purported to show the dead body of Judge Zouhary,” the indictment states.
     Prosecutors say he asked for the rest of the money, and N.T. said she would get back to him after speaking to her husband.
     Mohammad meanwhile had allegedly told the jailhouse snitch “that the rest of the money for the murder was coming from Dubai to Texas to Chicago,” where his wife would hand it to the undercover.
     “According to the charges in the indictment, this defendant not only attempted to have a federal judge murdered, but he did so to obstruct justice in a terrorism case against him,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement.
     The 2015 charge that remains pending against Mohammad says he conspired with three others “to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars to Anwar Al-Awlaki in an effort to support violent jihad against U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.”
     “Conspiring to have a judge killed is not the way to avoid being prosecuted – now Mohammad will be held accountable for additional serious federal charges,” Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said in a statement.
     The new indictment charges Mohammad with attempted first-degree murder of a federal officer, solicitation and use of interstate commerce in the commission of a murder-for-hire. They carry a total of 50 years in prison for Mohammad, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates.

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