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Man pleads guilty to supporting terrorism

A Somali immigrant charged with conspiring to support terrorists pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Columbus. An attorney for 35-year-old Nuradin Abdi says his client took a plea deal rather than risk spending the rest of his life in prison.

The government says Nuradin Abdi plotted to blow up a retail mall in Columbus and that he tried to find a terrorist group in Europe or Africa where he could train. Prosecutors say Abdi conspired with now-convicted terrorist Iyman Faris and a third suspect, Christopher Paul. Abdi's attorney Mahir Sherif says his client feared anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the jury.

"In this climate an American jury could potentially find him guilty because of all this negative stuff coming in," Sherif said. "And if they found him guilty he was looking at spending the rest of his life in custody."

Prosecutors have recommended a ten-year sentence after which Abdi would be deported. They say he gave stolen credit card numbers to a man accused of buying equipment for al-Qaida, and that Abdi lied on immigration documents to visit a jihadist training camp. He was arrested in 2003.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)