A Chicago Palestinian terrorist with a decades-old record of bombings in Israel pleaded guilty Tuesday to concealing those convictions when she applied for U.S. citizenship.
Rasmea Odeh, 69, will be deported to Jordan or another country in the months ahead.
Odeh was convicted at trial in 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the verdict was overturned. A second trial was planned in Detroit, the city where she went through the citizenship process in 2004, before she decided to accept a plea deal.
But even with the plea agreement, Odeh refused to utter the word “guilty” when repeatedly asked by U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain. He gave up and accepted her reply that she had admitted her crime in the court document.
“I signed this,” Odeh said.
She won’t spend any time in prison and will wait for U.S. immigration officials to tell her when she must leave the country. The deportation won’t happen until after she appears in court in August.
“The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts,” said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Detroit.
In 1970, Odeh was convicted of two bombings in Israel, including one that killed two young men at a supermarket in Yerushalayim. She insists she was tortured into confessing. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1979 as part of a prisoner swap with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
With family in Michigan, she applied for a U.S. visa in 1994 but didn’t disclose her criminal record. She also didn’t disclose it when she applied for citizenship in 2004. Her record would have disqualified her from entering the U.S.