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Court orders ISIS sympathizer who tried to kill FBI agent resentenced over ‘shockingly low’ sentence

Courtroom and gavel. (Joe Gratz/Flickr)
December 31, 2019

A federal appeals court said on Friday a New York City man who tried to kill an FBI agent in 2015 in support of ISIS, should be re-sentenced after receiving a sentence of just 17 years for his actions.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has ordered a new sentencing for the case against Fareed Mumuni. Sentencing guidelines for Munumi’s actions would have called for an 85-year prison term under normal circumstances, according to the Associated Press.

Mumuni, a 25-year-old U.S.-born citizen was sentenced in April of 2018 after pleading guilty to charges he sought to aid the ISIS terror group and tried to kill FBI agent Kevin Coughlin, who searched his home in Staten Island, NY.

According to prosecutors, Mumuni attacked the agent with an 8-inch knife, but Coughlin’s body armor protected him from the stabbing attempt.

Mumuni was arrested in connection with Munther Omar Saleh, another ISIS sympathizer, who was arrested on suspicions he planned to bomb the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Judge Jose A. Cabranes, in a decision for the 2nd Circuit appeals panel said judges do have broad discretion, but not unlimited discretion in determining sentences, though the appeals court determined the judge in this case “drastically discounted the seriousness of Mumuni’s offense conduct based on a sterilized and revisionist interpretation of the record.”

The decision determined a “clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence leaves us with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed — a mistake that resulted in a shockingly low sentence that, if upheld, would damage the administration of justice in our country.”

The court determined the judge in the original case appeared to question if Mumuni actually intended to kill Coughlin in the knife attack, despite Mumuni’s own admissions he had intended to kill the FBI agent.

The circuit court noted Mumuni held the knife behind his back to conceal it from Coughlin before revealing the knife when he was close to the agent and charging at him.

“Mumuni’s violent attack against Agent Coughlin was indisputably a premeditated, willful, and deliberate attempt to murder a federal officer in the name of ISIS. In short, it was a pre‐authorized ISIS terrorist attack on American soil,” the appeals court decision said.

In a partial dissenting opinion, Circuit Judge Peter W. Hall disagreed with the assessment that the sentencing was “shockingly low” and said he doesn’t believe the judge ordered to re-sentence Mumuni is under any requirement to impose a different sentence.

Hall did not fully dissent, however, to the order for re-sentencing and suggested it as an opportunity for the judge in the original case to better explain their original sentencing decision.