(AP) Judge clears terror convict of contempt
By TYPH TUCKER
Associated Press Writer
A member of the group of Portland-area Muslims convicted of conspiring
to wage war against the U.S. won't be subject to additional prison time,
despite his refusal to testify in front of a grand jury, a federal judge
But Judge Robert E. Jones did rule that the time Patrice Lumumba Ford
has recently served in the Multnomah County Justice Center would not
count toward his 18-year prison sentence, imposed in November, 2003.
Ford, who was convicted of attempting to join the Taliban in late fall
2001, was subpoenaed in July by a grand jury in Portland. Beyond
confirming his name at grand jury proceedings, Ford refused to answer
any questions, saying that his religion prohibited him from implicating
a fellow Muslim.
"I find his beliefs in good faith," said Jones. "Mr. Ford's beliefs are
sincere _ he will not be coerced to testify."
Ford has said that he tried to reach Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 to
fulfill an Islamic duty to defend fellow Muslims. Ford and other
Portland-area Muslims got as far as western China, but visa troubles
thwarted their efforts to get to the war zone. The FBI arrested and
convicted six members in 2002. The alleged ringleader remained abroad
and died in a shootout with U.S. forces on the Afghan border in 2003.
In his ruling Tuesday, Jones said Ford has already served the time
necessary for contempt of court.
"The appropriate sanction is the length of the court proceeding, roughly
of July and August," said Jones. To Ford he said, "You have now served
the time on this sanction. You won't get credit on your 18-year sentence
and will be remanded to the Bureau of Prisons."
Ford's family and supporters say he doesn't deserve the 18-year
"This is a young man who never intended violence on anyone," said
55-year-old Linda Olson-Osterlund of Portland. "There's been an
injustice. I would like to see his sentence reduced to reflect the harm
Ford's father, Kent Ford, 61, of Portland, said he didn't mind that the
two months wouldn't be taken off the sentence.
"So he loses two months," Ford said. "He got the chance to come home (to
Portland) and see his family."
Patrice Ford's attorney, Marc Sussman, said he believed Jones's ruling
showed a sensitivity toward Islam. Sussman said there were no plans to
appeal Ford's sentence, but he believed there would be more grand jury
"The grand jury's term is not over and I assume their investigation will
continue," he said. "I'm sure there have been others subpoenaed."
A call for comment to the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland was not
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