Man Convicted in LAX Plot to Be Sentenced

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ahmed Ressam, convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium, is to be sentenced April 27 in a hearing that has been repeatedly delayed to ensure his cooperation in other terrorism cases.

The date is set ''in stone,'' federal prosecutor Mark Bartlett said Thursday.

Ressam, an Algerian national, was caught smuggling explosives into the United States through Port Angeles in December 1999. He was convicted in April 2001 of nine charges, including terrorist conspiracy.

He faced up to 130 years in prison, but cut a deal with the Justice Department and began cooperating with authorities in exchange for a 27-year prison sentence. U.S. District Judge John Coughenour called the information he provided to the government ''startlingly helpful.''

Ressam's testimony helped convict Mokhtar Haouari of supplying fake identification and cash for the millennium bomb plot. Haouari was sentenced in New York to 24 years in prison.

In December 2002, Ressam met with German justice officials who questioned him about al-Qaida for the trial of a Moroccan charged with supporting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist hijackers. Mounir el Motassadeq was convicted in February 2003 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Ressam's lawyers have long claimed that he has relayed all information he had concerning terrorist operations, and that he wants to get the sentencing over with.

In Los Angeles on Thursday, a Tanzanian man who gave a phony warning that terrorists were going to blow up a shopping mall was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Authorities said Zameer Mohamed's threat last April caused panic and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in security expenses and business losses.

Mohamed called a Department of Homeland Security tip line and claimed that four people with links to al-Qaida planned to enter the U.S. and blow up an unspecified mall near the Federal Building in West Los Angeles.

The people he falsely named included his ex-girlfriend. Mohamed said he was angry at the woman, believing she owed him money.