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Colorado mom charged in terror case 'overwhelmed and distraught'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez is accused of traveling to Europe to support and participate in a "violent jihad."
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez is accused of traveling to Europe to support and participate in a "violent jihad."
  • Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, is accused of conspiring to aid terrorists
  • Attorney: She has not been able to see her son, who is in the custody of child services
  • Indictment alleges e-mails with accused conspirator Colleen R. LaRose in 2009
  • LaRose allegedly invited her to "training camp" in Europe to help wage "violent jihad"

(CNN) -- A Colorado woman who was indicted on terrorism charges Friday is "overwhelmed and distraught and very much in tears with concern for her son," her lawyer said Saturday.

Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Her lawyer, Jeremy Ibrahim, said he met with her for the first time on Saturday.

Ibrahim said that he has not yet been able to see Paulin-Ramirez's 6-year-old son, who was placed in the custody of child services after his mother's arrest.

Paulin-Ramirez had been arrested in Ireland in March, reportedly as part of an investigation into a conspiracy to commit murder. She was released without charges.

The U.S. indictment against her also charges Colleen R. LaRose, a Pennsylvania suspect known as "Jihad Jane," with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The indictment is a superseding document to a previous indictment that charged only LaRose.

Paulin-Ramirez was arrested Friday afternoon in Philadelphia after voluntarily flying to the United States from abroad, authorities said. She met with her lawyer Saturday at a federal detention center in Philadelphia, Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim said his client "did what any law-abiding citizen would do if they knew they were facing charges back home -- she came back with her son."

Paulin-Ramirez briefly appeared in court Friday.

She and LaRose are accused of traveling to Europe to support and participate in a "violent jihad," according to a statement from federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the charges were filed.

According to the latest indictment, Paulin-Ramirez exchanged e-mail messages with LaRose during the summer of 2009 and was invited by the Pennsylvania woman to join her in Europe to attend a "training camp." Paulin-Ramirez accepted the invitation and arrived in Europe with her 6-year-old son Christian on September 12, 2009, with "the intent to live and train with jihadists," the indictment says.

It alleges that Paulin-Ramirez married an unidentified co-conspirator whom she had never met.

Ibrahim said his client's capability of supporting terrorists seems "doubtful given her background as a single mother and a nursing student in Leadville, Colorado."

"Unless people have proof that she was involved in illegal activities," he added, "I don't think anyone should be labeling her 'Jihad Jamie' and not allow her to get a fair trial."

Paulin-Ramirez is scheduled to return to court Wednesday for a detention hearing, Ibrahim said.

LaRose, who is in her late 40s, pleaded not guilty to the earlier four-count indictment of conspiring to support terrorists and kill a person in a foreign country.

In a pair of e-mails exchanged on August 1, LaRose told Paulin-Ramirez, "when our brother[s] defend our faith [&] their homes, they are terrorist ... fine, then i am a terrorist & proud to be this," according to the indictment. To this, Paulin-Ramirez responded in an e-mail by stating, "if thats how they call it then so be it i am what i am," the indictment says.

The indictment, which also charges LaRose with making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft, says LaRose agreed last year to kill a resident of Sweden.

A U.S. government official familiar with the case has identified the target as Lars Vilks, a cartoonist who outraged some by drawing Islam's Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog in 2007.

That cartoon prompted al Qaeda to offer a reward to anyone who killed Vilks.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, LaRose and five co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet "to wage violent jihad in south Asia and Europe." The indictment lists Paulin-Ramirez separately from those five co-conspirators.

I don't think anyone should be labeling her 'Jihad Jamie' and not allow her to get a fair trial.
--Jeremy Ibrahim, attorney for Jamie Paulin-Ramirez
  • Colleen LaRose
  • Terrorism
  • Crime
  • Colorado

Authorities have not identified the alleged co-conspirators, but police in Ireland arrested seven people last month in an operation that a U.S. official said was directly related to the plot involving LaRose. Two of those have since been charged.

Paulin-Ramirez was among those arrested in March, but she was released without charges.

The indictment against LaRose said she recruited people on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and across Europe in support of jihad. Their plans included martyring themselves, soliciting money for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions by collecting passports and by marrying so they could wage jihad, the indictment said.

LaRose was arrested on the terrorism charges in Philadelphia in October and is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia.

If convicted, LaRose would face a possible sentence of life in prison and a $1 million fine, while Paulin-Ramirez would face a maximum sentence of 15 years and a $250,000 fine.

Paulin-Ramirez's mother, Christine Mott, said her daughter was "looking for someone to love her."

"They came in through that computer and have ripped my family apart," Mott told CNN affiliate KUSA, referring to a computer in her home in Leadville. "I think if I dwelled on it I'd probably go crazy. It's hard, very, very hard."

Mott said she is most concerned that her grandson was caught in her daughter's entanglements.

"I need to bring that little boy back here," she said. "Jamie has to answer for what she's done, but he should be able to go fishing and go to school."

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.