NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York man who planned to join Islamic State and attacked an FBI agent may be sentenced on Tuesday to a longer prison term after a federal appeals court called his 17-year sentence “shockingly low.”
Fareed Mumuni, 27, pleaded guilty in 2017 to discussing plans to travel overseas to join the militant group also known as ISIS and to trying to stab an FBI agent after authorities arrived at his Staten Island residence in 2015 to execute a search warrant.
The United States brands Islamic State a foreign terrorist organization.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn appealed Mumuni’s 2018 sentence, which was 80% below the 85 years recommended by federal guidelines.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals sided with prosecutors, arguing U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie had improperly second-guessed whether Mumuni truly planned to kill FBI Special Agent Kevin Coughlin, who survived the attack.
Brodie, now the Eastern District of New York’s chief judge, was due to issue her new sentence at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT).
Prosecutors in court papers last year asked Brodie to sentence Mumuni to 85 years. Mumuni’s lawyers asked that Brodie hand him a prison term similar to her original 2018 sentence, arguing Mumuni had rehabilitated himself.
“Through education I am learning the truth of my religion in all of its beauty, in contrast to religious pillars based on hate,” Mumuni wrote in a Feb. 17 handwritten letter to Brodie. He apologized to law enforcement officers.
Federal judges must justify major departures from advisory guidelines resulting in sentences that might appear unusually lenient or harsh.
The Second Circuit said Brodie gave too much weight to mitigating factors such as Mumuni’s age, lack of a prior criminal record and support from family and friends.