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Amr Mohsen was apparently just bargaining over the cost of killing a federal judge � not actually commissioning his murder � in a jailhouse conversation videotaped in 2004, a jury decided Wednesday. The erstwhile Silicon Valley millionaire was convicted on charges of witness tampering and soliciting arson, but the jury found that he wasn’t guilty of trying to kill U.S. District Judge William Alsup. The arson count alone carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and with the two Wednesday convictions following a Feb. 28 guilty verdict on 15 related counts, including perjury, fraud and obstruction of justice, Mohsen seems likely to face at least a couple of decades in prison. “Overall, we’re satisfied,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Harris, the lead prosecutor in the case. “Obviously, we’re disappointed with the last count, but the fact is that we got 17 of the 18 charges.” These included serious charges involving a $70 million fraud scheme and the arson count, she added. Mohsen’s criminal case began with a relatively routine piece of patent litigation. When Alsup found in the civil case that Mohsen had falsified evidence, he forwarded his findings to prosecutors, who indicted Mohsen in 2003. Alsup decided that he would preside over the criminal case, a decision that apparently angered Mohsen, who felt that the judge was out to get him. While he was awaiting trial in an Alameda County detention facility � the government had locked him up as a flight risk � Mohsen had several conversations with another inmate, Manuel Primas, about intimidating witnesses expected to testify against him. Primas reported the conversations to law enforcement, and agreed to wear a wire to tape subsequent exchanges. In those talks, which were also secretly videotaped, Mohsen solicited intimidating phone calls to witnesses and the burning of a witness’s car. The FBI went so far as to fake a picture of a burnt car for Primas to show Mohsen. But the jury decided that a recorded conversation in which Mohsen and Primas discussed the price tag for Alsup’s murder � Primas said it would cost $25,000, Mohsen said it should be closer to 10 grand � fell short of solicitation. “Amr is on videotape saying, �My conscience bothers me, I don’t know if I want to do this,’” said his lawyer, Sacramento solo John Balazs. And the jury apparently didn’t believe Primas’ testimony that Mohsen made a more solid request for Alsup’s murder in an earlier, unrecorded talk. It took the jury two days to reach a verdict in the second of two trials. The case was split due to concerns that, if the witness intimidation and murder solicitation charges were heard in concert with the perjury counts, the jury would assume Mohsen was guilty. But after the verdict was read Wednesday, Balazs said the bifurcation was still not enough, since the same jury heard both trials. “The judge should have granted the severance and had two juries,” Balazs said, adding that over the next month or so, he plans to file motions for a new trial and a judgment of acquittal based on insufficient evidence. He also plans to challenge the earlier verdicts. “We’re going to appeal the whole thing,” he said.

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