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Judge: Ohio bridge bomb plot equal to terrorism

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012

Wright faces the toughest sentence, up to 33 years, because he "was clearly the leader in the activities of the five defendants," the judge said. Stevens was a "minor participant" and his sentence guideline was calculated at 15 to 19 years. Baxter could get 22 to 27 years.

The judge alternately calculated possible prison terms for the trio if the "terrorist enhancement" is successfully challenged. In that case, each man would face five or six years in prison, Dowd said.

Terry Gilbert, the attorney representing Stevens, said Thursday the judge's guideline calculations were a starting point for Tuesday's hearing. He said the defense would ask for leniency based on issues including the age of the men, their family backgrounds and an informant's role.

The attorney for Baxter declined to comment on the judge's ruling. A message seeking comment was left for Wright's attorney.

The defense has called the investigation a case of entrapment, with the informant guiding the way, and said the plot was more an act of vandalism than anti-government terrorism. They asked for sentences in the range of the mandatory minimum of five years.

The government said the plot "was meant to convey a message to the civilian population, the corporate world, the financial system, and all levels of government."