Mohamed Mohamud's defense team has asked a federal judge to put a muzzle on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud
Bryan Denson of the Portland Oregonian newspaper reports that the nation's top prosecutor has commented publicly at least twice in recent weeks about the criminal case against Mohamud. The 19-year-old Somali-American is accused of plotting to bomb thousands of Christmas revelers at Portland's Nov. 26 tree-lighting ceremony, a plot thwarted by an undercover FBI sting.
Defense lawyers Stephen R. Sady and Steven T. Wax filed a motion on Monday asking U.S. District Judge Garr M. King to prohibit government prosecutors from making further comments about the case. They allege that Holder's public statements violated federal regulations and their client's constitutional right to due process.
Prosecutors have not yet filed a response to the motion.
Mohamud's defense team wrote in their motion that the Mohamud case already involves high risks regarding pretrial prejudice. They alleged that Holder's remarks went far beyond general comments about the charges against their client or a discussion of policy issues.
"By opining on the merits of the case," they wrote, "the government pollutes the jury pool with inappropriate opinions and prejudgments."