MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lawyers for a man charged in a mass shooting plot in downtown Milwaukee say their client refused to participate when urged by FBI informants they say harassed him for months.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2tBoKp9 ) reports that lawyers for 25-year-old Samy Mohamed Hamzeh claim entrapment in the case and have asked Hamzeh be released from jail on bail pending his February trial.
The motion comes after the defense reviewed hours of recently translated Arabic conversations the informants recorded.
"There is also no evidence that Hamzeh ever made any plans or was doing anything other than making empty boasts to express his resentment about Israel or to gain attention," the brief in support of the bond motion said.
Hamzeh was arrested in 2016 on two counts of possessing a machine gun and one count of possessing a silencer, which he bought from undercover FBI agents. Federal prosecutors allege he was planning to kill at least 30 people at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic to "defend Islam."
Much of the recorded conversations between Hamzeh and the informants are mere bravado by Hamzeh and obvious attempts by the informants to steer the discussion toward jihad and machine guns, said federal public defenders Craig Albee and Joseph Bugni.
They said their client repeatedly protested the informants' proposals and that he only wanted a legal handgun to protect himself. They said he ultimately "lectured his informant friends about why such a plan would be wrong."
By the time the trial begins in February, Hamzeh will have spent 25 months in jail. Even if convicted, the guideline range sentence for the crimes is between 24 and 30 months, his attorneys said.
The request said Hamzeh should be released on GPS monitoring after giving up his passport. A hearing is set for July 12.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com