Wednesday, August 25, 2010

State Felony Charges Suspended Against Ahlam Mohsen; Feds to Conduct Investigation

Posted: 4:20 p.m. Aug. 24, 2010

Federal charge weighed for woman accused of hitting Levin with pie


A 22-year-old woman accused of hitting U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with a pie last week will have her case suspended while government investigators decide whether she should be charged with a federal crime.

A Mecosta County district judge decided today to suspend proceedings on the state case while the FBI investigates whether a charge of assaulting a member of Congress should be brought against 22-year-old Ahlam Mohsen of Coldwater. A Michigan State University student, Mohsen is accused of hitting Levin in the face with an apple pie while he spoke at a coffee shop in Big Rapids last Monday.

According to witnesses, Mohsen pied Levin, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, as a man in the audience read complaints about Levin’s stance on foreign policy and the defense of Israel. Mohsen and the man, identified by authorities as Max Kantar, 23, of Big Rapids, left the coffee shop immediately after the incident and Mohsen was arrested a short time later.

She was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and has been held in the Mecosta County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Today, her attorney Dennis DuVall said the judge agreed to lower her bond to $50,000 – she must put up 10% or $5,000 in cash in order to be released – while investigators determine whether a federal charge will be brought against her. He said he would expect her to be released today or Wednesday.

The judge also ordered Mohsen to surrender her passport.

DuVall said Mohsen remains in good spirits and wants to get out of jail before classes begin next week.

This was not the first time Mohsen allegedly had a run-in with Levin. A January 2009 article on the State News Web site at Michigan State University said Mohsen and Kantar – who is a student at Ferris State University - were arrested for organizing a sit-in outside Levin's office to speak to him about his support of Israel.

According to federal statute, a person convicted of assaulting a member of Congress can be fined and imprisoned for up to a year.

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