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Obama administration seeks to add 20 years to man's prison sentence for 'crime' of owning books


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(NaturalNews) In August 2011, Marcus Dwayne Robertson, 46, the Muslim imam of a mosque in Orlando, Florida, was arrested by federal agents and charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a charge to which he pleaded guilty.

Today, nearly four years after that arrest, Robertson, who is also known as Abu Taubah, is still behind bars awaiting sentencing for his crime. He is also awaiting sentencing on a separate count of conspiracy to file a fraudulent tax refund claim.

While he could have potentially been released on time served based on his charges, the Obama administration is instead seeking a "terrorism enhancement" charge that could result in Robertson serving another two decades in prison.

Gang member to covert operative

As further noted by The Intercept:

Part of what makes the case unusual is that Robertson has never actually been charged with planning or committing any terrorist acts. Instead, prosecutors are trying to use his possession of Islamic literature as proof of his terrorist intent. Citing statements a young acquaintance of Robertson's made to a government informant, in addition to passages from a number of e-books found in Robertson's possession after his arrest, prosecutors are arguing that the imam is "an extremist seeking to promote violent jihad."

For his part, Robertson says he is the target of entrapment and malicious prosecution. He also says he is a former undercover operative for the CIA and that he fell out with the agency after refusing to perform certain tasks requested by his agency handler. Some have said that is a rather fantastical claim, but a sentencing memorandum issued by his attorneys in April says that the U.S. government has authenticated a number of Robertson's claims regarding past clandestine operations he undertook on behalf of the government.

There are additional interesting aspects to Robertson's life. Early on, he was a U.S. Marine; later, he became a member of a New York City street gang. Finally, he transformed himself into a reputed religious leader.

His transformation from gang member to imam began in 1991 after he was sent to prison for a number of robberies and violent incidents aimed at police officers and government installations. In the Justice Department's sentencing memorandum, prosecutors allege that during his affiliation with a gang known as the "Forty Thieves," he "murdered several individuals; participated in assassination attempts; used pipe bombs, C-4, grenades, other explosives, and automatic weapons." In addition, the government is claiming that the gang "stockpiled weapons and explosives in preparation to fight against the perceived threat of internment of Muslims by the United States."

In an interview with The Intercept from a jail cell in Florida, Robertson said several of the government's allegations were concocted. However, he did admit that during the early 1990s, he was affiliated with the New York City gang, which he described as part criminal enterprise, part vigilante organization.

"During that time in Brooklyn we were dealing with the ongoing crack cocaine epidemic, as well as with pimps and violent drug dealers destroying the social fabric of our neighborhood. We formed the Forty Thieves to clean up our area, and many times the police were on our side in this effort," Robertson said in his interview by telephone.

Still, he noted, "We were young, we made foolish decisions, and sometimes we were inadvertently used by people for other agendas. Sometimes our behavior crossed a line."

He wound up testifying for the prosecution at a trial for several Forty Thieves members and was released from prison for time served after four years.

His attorneys say his current legal troubles began after he ended his covert activities for the CIA some time around 2007.






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