Sex Trafficking Trial Unusual in Scope

Brandon Gee, The Tennessean, February 28, 2012

Nearly two dozen defendants accused of participating in an interstate sex trafficking ring are scheduled to go before a federal jury next month in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest—and most unusual—trials in Middle Tennessee history.

In an era when limited resources and risk aversion have resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of cases that end in plea agreements rather than jury trials, not even one of the 30 defendants in the case has agreed to plead guilty, setting the stage for a massive trial in downtown Nashville that is raising a variety of issues both legal and logistical.

Twenty-nine people, mostly Somalis from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, were charged in November 2010 with running a prostitution ring that sold Somali girls as young as 12 years of age in cities including Nashville. A 30th defendant was indicted in May 2011. {snip}

Seven defendants—including two who have not yet been apprehended—have been severed from the trial scheduled to begin March 20 and will be tried later. Even so, longtime prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee said it is shaping up to be the largest number of defendants to go to trial at once in federal court in Nashville, if not U.S., history.


Observers are chalking up the lack of plea agreements in the case to a number of factors.


“The Somalis have a cultural thing about testifying against each other,” said former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Ed Yarbrough, who agreed that the trial is on course to be the largest, in terms of the number of defendants, in Nashville history. “I think it’s cultural. That’s what I’ve been told.”


While the lack of plea agreements is surprising to some, Minneapolis Police Department Officer Jeanine Brudenell said it’s not unusual when dealing with Somali defendants. The Twin Cities are home to the largest Somali population in North America, and Brudenell is her department’s designated “East African community engagement officer.”

“There is a slim possibility that some people would take plea agreements, but it wouldn’t be until last minute,” Brudenell said. “Most of the time, they will probably go through the trial process.”

Having immigrated from a country with no functional government, many Somalis are accustomed to resolving problems within small communities, Brudenell said, and that mindset colors the way they approach the American justice system.


There has been at least one alleged incident of witness tampering in the case proceeding toward trial in Nashville. Three Twin Cities women—Hawo Osman Ahmed, Ifrah Abdi Yassin and Hamdi Ahmed Mohamud—were charged in June in a five-count indictment that includes charges of “conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, victim or informant.”

The three women threatened a witness identified only by the initials “MA” and then attacked her in her Minnesota apartment building elevator, according to the charges.


Finally, noting their defendants’ presumed innocence before trial, many of the defense attorneys said there may be a far simpler reason none of the defendants reached plea agreements: They didn’t do it.

“They maintain their innocence,” said Nashville lawyer Patrick Frogge, who represents Haji Osman Salad in the case. “I think a lot of the defendants are looking forward to their day in court.”


The trial, expected to last months, will require modifications of Haynes’ courtroom to ensure there is enough space for the defendants and attorneys. The judge also has granted the defendants’ request to take breaks consistent with Muslim prayer times.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • crystal evans

    I wish we could deport these Somalians back to their own country after they complete their jail sentences.

    • crystal evans

      These Somalis were put to work in poultry plants here in Tennessee. They demanded time off the line to pray. They even wanted their evening break moved so that they could pray their evening prayer. They were fired but after representatives for the Somalis talked to the management of the poultry plant, but they were rehired. A couple of years ago, they got the management to give them two Muslim holidays off and remove Labor Day as a paid holiday. The Christian employees revolted and labor day was restored as a paid holiday

  • Just a hunch, but I don’t think all of the victims were Somali girls.  If this ring was based out of Minneapolis, then they surely kidnapped young white women of Scandinavian ancestry.

  • Hopefully it was only somoli girls and not natives. If it was somoli girls only blacks would want to sleep with them, so they might have an all black defence/witnesses and all they need is a single black jury member for them all to get off.

  • “Finally, noting their defendants’ presumed innocence before trial, many
    of the defense attorneys said there may be a far simpler reason none of
    the defendants reached plea agreements: They didn’t do it.”

    Then they must not be very familiar with the American “justice” system.  There is no longer a presumption of innocence.  Once you are accused, your are “guilty” whether you did anything wrong or not.

    I don’t think it is coincidence that the presumption of innocence disappeared at the same time whites are losing the majority; the concept makes sense only in an enlightened society.  It may not make sense in a society dominated by primitive peoples.

    • Oil Can Harry


      Blacks + Islam = Violence

  • pfic

    Good point. Although, my personal preference is sending them and the money overseas, if it’s going to be that way. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing even a large portion of our tax dollars sent overseas if only we could be left alone at home. I think foreign aid is a far more reasonable solution than any refugee program. The economic benefits alone of them not being here would more than make up for whatever was being sent out of the country.

    That being said, when you look at the sort of things they’re doing, I don’t think we should be sending them anything but contraceptives.

  • When you import third-world Somalians you get third-world Somalia. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  • NYB

     “The Somalis have a cultural thing about testifying against each other” 

    Allow me to explain.  Somalis think of whites as “non-believers”, and our laws are only a hindrance to them taking what they want.

    They have a knack for using their women to gain wealth, usually by setting them up on welfare if not prostitution. 

    Somalis in Canada are responsible for waves of violence, gang activity, drug-dealing and murders in the cities of Ottawa and Edmonton.  They are over-represented in Canadian jails and in deportations as ‘undesirables’.

  • JackKrak

    Funny, you would think that “sex trafficking” and “largest number of defendants on trial at once in federal court in US history” would be enough to put this front and center on a larger media outlet than “The Tenessean” (no offense to them).

    I wonder why this isn’t a huge topic on more national news shows. Hmmm, I really wonder….

  • Who knew trafficing goats was illegal.

  • Christopher_Nelson

    I think that they should let them go. I believe this is racial bias.  In Somlia this is normal behavior.  It is simply the raciss whites who do not see the cultural differences and  therefore cannot understand diversity. I blame institutional white racism for this.

  • Anan7

    I am genuinely amazed that AmRen isn’t blocked in Australia.  At least not yet!

    Look at Somalia and all the wonderful works of culture, art, architecture, and science that have been created down there!  Oh… wait…

    Anyway Somalis are among the most destructive breeds of African that there are.  The Lutherans that brought them here should be serving prison sentences right alongside them.  They should have known better.

    It’s just like a straw purchase of a gun.  If you buy a gun for someone you know will do harm with it, you are partially guilty of the same offense they committed.

  • Anan7

    There are two things about Christianity that has always really bugged me: immigration and race.

    The Bible makes it clear that the nations were meant to live separately.  Mixing them together, especially 3rd world savages who have little comprehension of right and wrong because their evolution didn’t bring that into them, is morally culpable.

    When I lived in West Virginia one man at the Church had adopted a Haitian child.  That man is guilty of a crime in my opinion.  That can have no happy ending.  It will probably result in rape, assault, or at the very least a miscegenated marriage.

    It’s all the result of White brainwashing and the glorification of multiculturalism.

    If these people want to help the Somalis out, fine.  GO OVER THERE.  What’s to stop you from running into a hornet’s nest?  Don’t bring the hornets into my town.  For God’s sake, DON’T BRING THEM HERE.

    • Alexandra1973

      I agree.  There is a reason why God separated man into the three major races.  We were separated by race (Noah’s three sons), by language (Tower of Babel, Genesis 11), and by land (splitting up of what was likely Pangaea–the Bible says that “in the days of Peleg was the earth divided”).

  • I remember this one. They were out of Omaha and the Twin Cities in Minnesota. This has happened for years and this case first started about 2 years ago. The next time you see a government official or a Catholic or a Lutheran, give ’em a big thanks for these “refugee” criminal gangs and interstate pimps and racists. They brought them in here so the next time you see them, give them a hearty “Thank you!” for bringing Bantu pimps and rapists.

  • Local_Ale

     After every war our dear leaders start, the United States gets a boatload of  “refugees” from the target state.

    Interventionism is the racket.

    And  shame on the organizations for getting in on the business; they are paid in blood money.

  • Alexandra1973

    Even here in the USA being perceived as a “racist” is worse than being accused of murder.