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Man accused of giving terrorists tablet denies US charges

February 26, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of providing a computer tablet and other support to terrorists overseas and laundering money to disguise his actions pleaded not guilty Wednesday, and a judge set his bond at $1 million.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud gave the tablet to people during a visit to the Middle East in the past 18 months, prosecutors said following a hearing in Common Pleas Court.

Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien, who had asked for a $2.5 million bond, wouldn’t identify the places Mohamud is accused of visiting or the groups he’s accused of meeting, saying only they’re on a list of federally designated terrorist organizations. He said Mohamud, who’s from Somalia, was arrested Saturday because he posed a public risk locally and was a flight risk.

“We believed and the feds believed he was a public safety risk,” O’Brien said, noting Mohamud failed to show up last week for sentencing on a minor theft charge.

Federal charges are expected.

Mohamud’s house has been searched, and he was under surveillance before being arrested.

His attorney, Sam Shamansky, said he didn’t pose a risk to anyone and had been investigated for a year and a half before being taken into custody.

He said Mohamud had a mother, an aunt and a sister in Columbus and was not at risk of fleeing. He also questioned the strength of the evidence presented in court for a high bond.

“When you think about exactly what you have in front of you in terms of allegations, I would submit there’s not a whole lot of meat on these bones yet,” Shamansky said.

Mohamud is a U.S. citizen who moved from Somalia in 1999, he said.

Federal authorities haven’t commented. Shamansky said it’s possible Mohamud is already facing federal charges that haven’t been made public.

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