Will an Obama judge let this terrorist suspect off without admitting guilt on terrorism?

He pressed a detonator on a bomb outside a restaurant, but a federal judge indicates she will allow him to avoid a trial without admitting guilt on a terrorism charge. That’s the situation in a federal terrorism case today in Chicago, and an Obama-appointed judge deserves to be in the national spotlight over her treatment of what is expected to be a most unusual plea. Jason Meisner of the Chicago Tribune explains:

Suburban Hillside teen Adel Daoud was bent on committing a terrorist attack in the Chicago area when he compiled a list of potential targets in August 2012 that included movie theaters, a suburban shopping mall, numerous bars and nightclubs, even a military recruiting center, according to federal prosecutors.

Daoud’s handwritten notes indicated he wanted it to be a “big bomb” and that people would “have to know it’s a terrorist attack,” prosecutors say.

Adel Daoud (US Marshals Service photo)

There’s more than a note indicating Daoud’s intent to commit a lethal act of terrorism:

A month later, Daoud was arrested by the FBI as he stood in an alley in Chicago’s Loop, pressing the detonator on what he thought was a 1,000-pound car bomb hidden in a Jeep Cherokee he’d parked outside his selected target — the Cactus Bar & Grill on South Wells Street, authorities said.

Mass murder was obviously the intent. And yet, Daoud is reportedly ready to avoid trial without admitting guilt on a terrorism charge:

Daoud’s lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to enter what’s known as an Alford plea in which he’d acknowledge prosecutors had evidence to convict him but not admit wrongdoing.

His attorneys said Daoud would also plead guilty to separate charges that he solicited the murder of an undercover FBI agent involved in the investigation and assaulted a fellow inmate at the federal jail in Chicago while awaiting trial.

Alford pleas are extremely rare and must be approved by the judge. Prosecutors have objected to the move, arguing that allowing Daoud to plead guilty without admitting his conduct would lend credence to his repeated claims that he was entrapped by the government and targeted because of his Muslim faith.

Coleman, however, has indicated she will accept the plea deal, though she plans to hear arguments from both sides at Monday’s hearing before going forward

Judge Coleman was appointed by Barack Obama. Allowing Daoud to avoid guilt on terrorism charges will enable him to avoid the most serious consequences for his act, and enable groups like CAIR to support his claim of persecution for his Muslim faith and avoid the t-word.  

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