Attorney: Client to plead guilty to threatening president

Published 5:39 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A man who police said was illegally living in Pelham when he was arrested and charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama plans to plead guilty to the crime during a Feb. 10 hearing, the suspect’s attorney said Jan. 18.


Lance Bell, the Birmingham attorney representing Uzbek national Ulugbek Kodirov, said his client plans to change his plea from not guilty to guilty during the February hearing, but said he did not wish to comment on the change.

In early August, Kodirov pleaded not guilty to four counts of threatening Obama, one count of receiving and possessing an unregistered grenade, one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and unlawfully possessing a fully-automatic weapon, Bell said.

Both firearm charges refer to a Sendra Corporation Model M15-A1 rifle, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

Vance said Kodirov “repeatedly threatened to kill the president of the United States.” U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis heard the plea in the U.S. District courtroom in Birmingham.

According to law enforcement, Kodirov was living in a room at the Oak Mountain Lodge extended-stay hotel off U.S. 31 when he was arrested.

According to court documents, Kodirov was arrested July 13 at a motel in Leeds after police said he procured the M15 machine gun from an undercover agent. He was arrested on a charge of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Kodirov came to the United States in June 2009 and remained in the country on a student visa. His student visa was revoked April 1, 2010, for failure to enroll in school, according to the arrest affidavit.

The Shelby County and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices, the Federal Air Marshals, the Hoover, UAB and Birmingham police departments and local members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force also assisted in the case.

Kodirov faces maximum prison penalties of five years on each count of threatening the president, and 10 years on each of the weapons counts.

Vance and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Whisonant and Ryan Buchanan are prosecuting the case.