No way Antonio Martinez could have assembled the phony bomb intended to blow up recruitment center, defense says
A man accused of plotting to kill military recruiters with a car bomb was a victim of entrapment and was incapable of building or detonating explosives, his attorney said Monday.
Antonio Martinez, 21, was arrested last week in an FBI sting after agents said he tried to detonate a phony bomb outside a Catonsville recruitment center. He’s charged with attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
His public defender, Joseph Balter, argued at a detention hearing Monday that his client, who prefers to be addressed as Muhammad Hussain, did not initiate the bombing plot. He described it as “the creation of the government — a creation which was implanted into Mr. Hussain’s mind.”
“There was nothing provided which showed that Mr. Hussain had any ability whatsoever to carry out any kind of plan,” Balter said.
But prosecutors said Martinez had been plotting to kill U.S. soldiers before he even met the informant who reported him to the FBI. They offered new details of the investigation to support their argument that he should be detained.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Manuelian said investigators captured Martinez on videotape, “grinning from ear to ear,” as he armed the phony bomb.
“There is no indication of any remorse, any concern, any nervousness that he is about to go and kill people,” Manuelian said.
Manuelian said that before Martinez tried to detonate the bomb with a cell phone, he videotaped himself saying, “There will be no place for the oppressors. You will feel our bullets.”
After his arrest, Martinez told law enforcement officers the bombing attempt was his idea and that no one influenced him, Manuelian said. Still, Manuelian said Martinez was suspicious that the situation could have been a setup.
She said he also considered attacking the center with a gun.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey ordered Martinez detained pending trial, saying he was dangerous and a flight risk. The defense’s entrapment argument “really is an issue for another day,” she said.
A woman who identified herself as Martinez’s mother said she believes he was entrapped.
“This is not Tony,” she told reporters, declining to give her name. “I think he was brainwashed with that Islam crap.”
Steven Levin, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who is not involved in the case, said Balter’s argument seemed tailored not just for the judge but for potential jurors.
“It’s a legitimate strategy to develop an entrapment defense because often in these kinds of cases, there is no other defense,” Levin said. “It’s appropriate that he raise it as early as possible.”
The FBI began investigating Martinez in early October after an informant pointed out postings on Martinez’s Facebook page. Balter said the Facebook postings constituted political and religious speech and made no specific threats.
Balter said the lack of a recording of the informant’s initial three conversations with Martinez is a sign the government was trying to obscure its role in developing the plot. It was in those conversations that Martinez first mentioned attacking the recruiting center, according to a criminal complaint.
“What we have here is a narrative controlled exclusively by the FBI,” Balter said.
He accused the FBI of using “a cookie-cutter approach” to its sting operations, referencing the recent arrest of a man charged with trying to detonate a phony bomb at a Portland, Ore., Christmas tree lighting.
He also questioned what the informant stood to gain from the FBI.
In response to questions from Gauvey, Manuelian said the informant had no criminal record was not paid except for incidental expenses, like buying a cell phone for Martinez. She said the informant had worked with the FBI briefly on an unrelated case.
Also among the new evidence offered by prosecutors were journal entries from May 2009 in which Martinez allegedly wrote about insurgent tactics and improvised explosives. In one entry, she said, Martinez expressed a desire to be remembered as a “fearless warrior,” adding, “I am willing to endure a warrior’s life.”
More Related Stories
- Illinois' fracking and coal rush is a national crisis
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11