WOULD-BE CHICAGO BACKPACK BOMBER GETS 23 YEARS

By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press
CHICAGO
A federal judge has sentenced a Lebanese immigrant to 23 years in prison for placing a backpack he believed contained a bomb along a bustling street near the Chicago Cubs’ baseball stadium.

Sami Samir Hassoun was sentenced Thursday, little more than a month after the Boston Marathon bomb attack.

The 25-year-old former baker pleaded guilty last year to dropping the backpack into a trash can outside a bar packed with late-night revelers across the road from Wrigley Field in 2010. FBI undercover agents had given him the bag.

The defense depicted Hassoun as a uniquely gullible youth sucked into the sting during an alcohol-addled stretch of his life by an informant eager to please his FBI handlers.

But prosecutors say he declined repeated opportunities to back out of the plot.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The defense depicts Sami Samir Hassoun as a uniquely gullible youth sucked into a terrorist plot during an alcohol-addled stretch of his life by an informant eager to please his FBI handlers.

Prosecutors, though, say the 25-year-old Lebanese immigrant showed enthusiasm and initiative, including by selecting a crowded street near Chicago’s Wrigley Field as the place to plant a backpack he believed held a real bomb.

A federal judge will consider those competing portraits Thursday at Hassoun’s sentencing hearing in Chicago.

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