March 17, 2010 in Region

Ressam appeals decision that sentence too lenient

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam is appealing a federal court’s ruling that his 22-year sentence was too lenient.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last month that the sentence was too short, given Ressam’s al-Qaida training, criminal history and malicious intent.

Ressam was arrested in Washington state in December 1999 on his way to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. The ruling was the latest step in Ressam’s long legal battle, which has already been to the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit also removed U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour from the case, saying it doubted his impartiality. Coughenour has twice sentenced Ressam to 22 years, saying it was a fair sentence given his post-conviction cooperation.

Ressam’s lawyer, Seattle Federal Public Defender Tom Hillier, said Wednesday that he will file a petition for rehearing in the 9th Circuit on Thursday.

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