Appeals court affirms AWOL soldier's life sentence

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A federal appeals court has affirmed two life terms against an AWOL soldier who planned to detonate a bomb inside a Texas restaurant frequented by Fort Hood soldiers.

Naser Jason Abdo appealed that his arrest was unlawful, that he had been denied access to an expert witness and that he was unfairly charged twice for the same offense. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Monday threw out all Abdo's claims, saying the August 2012 sentence stands.

Stan Schwieger, Abdo's lawyer, said the aim of the appeal was to get a trial and now he will most likely request an "en banc" review of the appeal, meaning that all the judges of the 5th Circuit would have to review the three-judge panel's opinion. Such a review is discretionary and, according to Schwieger, only 1 percent of cases that go before the Circuit Court of Appeals get it.

Abdo was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., when he was arrested with bomb-making materials in 2011. A federal jury convicted him in May 2012 on six charges including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Abdo also was found guilty of attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees and four counts of possessing a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.

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