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Defense: Terror Suspect Mehanna Should Get 6.5 Years Max

BOSTON — Defense lawyers for a Sudbury man convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaida say he should not get more than 6.5 years in prison.

In a sentencing memo filed Monday, Tarek Mehanna’s lawyers say there was no evidence Mehanna’s actions actually threatened U.S. security interests.

Mehanna, who was born in the United States and grew up in the wealthy Boston suburb, was convicted in December of four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities.

Prosecutors said he tried to help al-Qaida by translating and distributing publications and also tried unsuccessfully to get training at a terrorist camp in Yemen so he could fight U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Prosecutors are expected to file their sentencing memo Tuesday, and federal sentencing guidelines call for a life sentence for the convictions. Mehanna is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.

Seeking leniency, Mehanna, who’s being held in solitary confinement, has written to Judge George O’Toole to describe how much he enjoyed working as a teacher.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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