The Latest: Judge delays ruling on barring Somali videos
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a defense request to bar victim impact statements from Somali immigrants whose mosque and apartment complex was targeted (all times local):
A federal judge says he won’t immediately decide whether to allow testimony from Somali immigrants at the sentencing hearing for three men convicted of plotting to bomb a mosque and a Kansas apartment complex where the immigrants lived.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said during a court hearing Monday that he couldn’t recall ever denying someone the right to be heard. He said he’d issue a decision later.
A defense attorney argued that no one was harmed by the plot and questions the accuracy of the testimony translation. A prosecutor says harm to the community should be considered during sentencing.
Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen were convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring to violate civil rights. Their attorneys have asked that the Somalis’ victim impact statements be barred.
A federal judge is due to hear arguments about whether to allow victim impact statements from Somali immigrants at the sentencing hearing for three Kansas militia members convicted of plotting to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex where the immigrants live.
The hearing is scheduled to take place Monday before U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita.
Attorneys for Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen contend that the immigrants aren’t victims because no one was hurt. Prosecutors say the defendants are trying to de-personalize their crimes and that federal law guarantees every victim the right to be heard at sentencing.
The defendants were convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring to violate civil rights. Wright was also convicted of lying to the FBI.