The panel then held that Berman's admission of the documents found on Siddiqui complied with Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), which states that evidence of prior crimes, wrongs or other bad acts cannot be used to show a defendant is a bad person or had the propensity to commit the crime.
Siddiqui claimed her defense, that she never fired the M-4, eliminated the issue of intent from the case and thus the relevance of the documents.
"But even assuming that Siddiqui's defense theory effectively removed any issue of her intent or knowledge, the documentary evidence remained relevant to demonstrate Siddiqui's motive," Wesley said, and the issue of motive remains important.
Motive, he said, "an explanation of why the defendant would engage in the charged conduct, becomes highly relevant when the defendant argues that he did not commit the crime."
And, in any event, even if there had been error, it was harmless, Wesley said, for, "Even without the evidence, the government's case against Siddiqui can only be fairly characterized as devastating."
Another basis for the appeal was Berman's decision to allow Siddiqui to testify despite her counsel's attempt to keep her off the stand based on mental illness.
"We question whether the Constitution permits a finding that a criminal defendant is competent to stand trial, yet incompetent to determine whether to testify on her own behalf," Wesley said.
But that was not a question the panel need answer, he said, because "the district court went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that Siddiqui understood the implications of testifying and had the capacity to testify."
The panel went on to hold that incriminating, un-Mirandized statements Siddiqui made to FBI agents while hospitalized at Bagram Airfield were properly admitted into evidence.
Siddiqui also challenged Berman's decision to apply both the official victim and the terrorism enhancements in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The former applies where victims are selected based on their status as government employees and the latter applies for acts "calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct."