Malik Hannabal Shabazz Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls on May 25, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, MALIK HANNABAL SHABAZZ, a 19-year-old resident of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to false impersonation of an officer of the United States. Sentencing has been set for August 26, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On March 5, 2010, in Cascade County, SHABAZZ approached a ticketing agent at the Great Falls International Airport in an attempt to board a United Airlines (UA) flight. SHABAZZ presented a boarding pass, which the UA employee scanned. She then informed SHABAZZ that one of his carry-on bags was too large and needed to be checked. SHABAZZ then stated that he could not check the bag because he had a firearm in the carry-on bag. In response to SHABAZZ's claim, the UA employee asked him if he was a law enforcement officer. SHABAZZ replied that he was and that he worked for the FBI.
SHABAZZ was wearing a knit, short-sleeved, collared shirt with an FBI seal on the left breast. Underneath the seal, were the words "Washington Field Office, FBI Junior Academy". When asked by a UA employee for his law enforcement credentials, SHABAZZ produced a "DC One Card" bearing a photograph of him in a military style uniform. SHABAZZ told the UA employee that if she scanned the card, it would confirm that he could carry a firearm onto the plane.
Later, when questioned by the FBI, SHABAZZ admitted that he told the UA ticketing agent that he had a gun in his carry-on bag. He further admitted that when questioned about being a law enforcement officer, he responded by claiming to work for the FBI. He also stated that he displayed a "DC One Card" when asked for credentials by the UA employee and told her that if scanned, the card would allow him to carry a firearm on the plane.
SHABAZZ admitted that he told TSA employees that he had checked a bag containing a gun and that he worked for the FBI in Intelligence but was prohibited from telling them what he did for the FBI.
During the interview with the FBI, SHABAZZ admitted that he did not work, nor did he ever work, for the FBI and that he made the decision to say there was a gun in his carry-on bag prior to arriving at the gate. He stated that his purpose for claiming he was in possession of a firearm, in the pretend character of an FBI employee, was to be able to observe the response of airport personnel.
SHABAZZ faces possible penalties of 3 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least 1 year supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.