Tampa Bay Times

Published: Jun 09, 2014 5:07 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 09, 2014 6:27 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Monday gave closing arguments in the federal trial of a Kosovo-born American citizen accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Tampa.
    
Judge Mary Scriven is scheduled to give jury instructions Tuesday, and then jurors will deliberate.
    
Monday was the third week in the trial of Sami Osmakac. The 27-year-old Pinellas County man was arrested during a sting operation in 2012. Just before the arrest, authorities say he bought weapons, including a car bomb and an AK-47, from a man he thought was an arms dealer.
    
During the trial, jurors have heard from psychiatrists who spent dozens of hours with Osmakac, and have heard from Osmakac himself.  Prosecutors also played videos recorded by a confidential informant.
    
In one of the recordings with the informant, Osmakac referred to blowing up bridges over Tampa Bay.
    
"If you take those bridges out and they won't have food, medicine, they be shocked nobody can go to work, two million people, three million people will be sitting ducks," referring to all of the bridges connecting Pinellas County to Hillsborough County.
    
Osmakac is charged with possessing an unregistered automatic weapon and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces life in prison if convicted.
    
During closing arguments, federal prosecutors Sara Sweeney said Osmakac wanted to remotely detonate a car bomb near a Tampa Irish pub, then take hostages and start a shootout at the Hard Rock Casino in order to get Muslim prisoners released. He then was going to blow himself up when police closed in on him, Sweeney added.
    
"The most powerful thing you can see are the defendant's own words," she said making a mention to a martyr video he recorded before he was arrested. "His intent was to commit a violent act in America."
    
Not so, said George Tragos, Osmakac's attorney.
    
Osmakac had no idea how to use the fire power an undercover FBI agent provided, Tragos said, noting the first direction for detonating the bomb included the instruction to turn his cellphone on.
    
"The FBI said anything they want to Sami and he believed them," Tragos said. "He had no idea what was going on. He had these guys leading him around by the nose."
    
A confidential source involved in the investigation convinced Osmakac to pursue the terror plot, Tragos said questioning the $24,000 of payments to the source.
    
"This guy is so secret does anybody remember his name being mentioned at trial," Tragos asked.
    
Dr. Paul Montalbano, the deputy chief of forensic psychology services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, said Osmakac has below average intelligence and suffers from depression. Prosecutors called Montalbano to the stand to dispute other expert testimony about Osmakac's mental state.
    
A psychologist retained by Osmakac's attorneys testified last week that Osmakac began to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after a turbulent airplane ride in 2009.

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