PHILADELPHIA (CBS4) - A Colorado woman has admitted she conspired to help terrorists.
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 32, went before a judge Tuesday in Philadelphia and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material aid to terrorists. The woman from Leadville known as “Jihad Jamie” was arrested last year in Ireland.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger spoke with Paulin-Ramirez’s attorney about the case. Her attorney called his client “a vulnerable woman” who converting to Islam got caught up in something that she had no idea of the depth, and now she was paying the price.
From living in Leadville and working to become a nurse practitioner, Paulin-Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists.
“Emotionally it is a very difficult time for her. She’s separated from her family. She is a genuine convert to Islam,” said Jeremy Ibrahim, her attorney.
During that conversion process, Paulin-Ramirez is said to have come into contact with the woman now infamously known as “Jihad Jane,” Colleen LaRose of Pennsylvania, a co-defendant in the case.
“That ‘Jihad Jane’ lady came through the computer into my home, uninvited and has ripped my family apart,” said Christine Mott, Paulin-Ramirez’s mother during an interview with CBS4 in April 2010. “She’s the one that recruited my Jamie into believing this stuff.”
At the time, Jamie’s mother showed CBS4 a keyboard in Arabic that she used to communicate with others online.
“I never dreamed that she would be involved in something like this,” she said.
“This” involved her being arrested in Ireland, where on her first day there she married a man from Algeria who is accused of recruiting her in a plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who had angered Muslims.
“This entire experience of being thrust into the national spotlight when she was simply hoping to move into the direction of a good Muslim has really been quite an upheaval in her life,” said Ibrahim.
For a short time, CBS4 communicated with Paulin-Ramirez on Facebook. At first she said she could not comment, later she said she planned to go to an Islamic book festival.
Now she could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.
What now has become of Paulin-Ramirez’s 7-year-old son? He has changed his name from Christian to Walid. Her mother told CBS4 that Paulin-Ramirez became pregnant with the Algerian man she married, but lost that baby while in prison.
Her attorney said he will attempt to get her a sentence less than the 15 year maximum. No sentencing date has been scheduled yet.
Court papers released Tuesday give a glimpse of the goals of the Algerian man she married in Ireland. Her husband sought to recruit “brothers & sisters” to train with the group known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, prosecutors said; the group is an al-Qaida offshoot that has focused its efforts inside Algeria and has never attempted an attack on the U.S.
The documents also say he wanted to recruit people to train with Pakistan’s lead intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence. The agency, while a sometimes unreliable ally for the U.S., is also an essential partner for combatting terrorism inside Pakistan.
(Copyright 2011 – The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)