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United States v. Mehanna

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
735 F.3d 32 (1st Cir. 2013)


Facts

In 2004, Terek Mehanna (defendant), an American citizen, travelled to the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. In 2005, Mehanna began translating Arab-language materials into English, which he posted on a website that supported al-Qa’ida and Salafi-Jihadi sentiments. Mehanna was subsequently charged with providing, conspiring, and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. At trial, terrorist-related media that Mehanna had circulated, including disturbing videos of beheadings of American civilians as well as al-Qa’ida propaganda, was admitted as evidence against him. The United States government argued that the evidence went to Mehanna’s intent and motive. Specifically, the evidence demonstrated that Mehanna was radicalized by the terrorist propaganda, which had led to his traveling to Yemen to assist al-Qa’ida. The district court gave limiting instructions to curtail the potentially prejudicial impact of the evidence. Mehanna was convicted and sentenced to 210 months in prison. Mehanna appealed the district court’s admission of the terrorist-related propaganda, which he contended prejudiced the jury.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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