Submitted: February 12, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the District of South Dakota - Sioux Falls.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jeffrey C. Clapper, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin Koliner, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Sioux Falls, SD.
Mohammed Sharif Alaboudi, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, White Deer, PA.
For Mohammed Sharif Alaboudi, Defendant - Appellant: Stacy F. Kooistra, Myers & Billion, Sioux Falls, SD.
Before GRUENDER, SHEPHERD, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Following a jury trial, Mohammed Alaboudi was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child, sex trafficking of a child, and sex trafficking by means of force, fraud, or coercion. The district court issued a life sentence for each count, all running concurrently. Alaboudi appeals his conviction and sentence, arguing the government's conduct during his trial deprived him of a fair trial, the evidence was insufficient to sustain his
conviction, and the imposition of four life sentences violates his Eighth Amendment rights. We affirm Alaboudi's conviction and sentence.
" Consistent with our standard of review, the following facts are described in the light most favorable to the verdict." United States v. Garcia, 521 F.3d 898, 899 (8th Cir. 2008). Between September 2011 and May 2012, Alaboudi convinced and coerced four women--two minors, S.J. and J.W., and two adults, N.T. and M.M.--to engage in commercial sex transactions in his apartment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
S.J. met Alaboudi through his co-conspirator, Emmanuel Nyuon, when she was 14 years old. Nyuon and S.J. met around September 2011 and started a sexual relationship. At that time, S.J. was living with her mother and was not attending school because she had been expelled. Nyuon began bringing S.J. to Alaboudi's apartment around November 2011, and the two men convinced S.J. to engage in commercial sex transactions on multiple occasions in Alaboudi's apartment. S.J. split the proceeds of the transactions with Nyuon and Alaboudi. The men provided S.J. with alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. S.J. was afraid of Alaboudi and witnessed him act violently, including one incident where he beat potential customers with a piece of wood because they did not have the money they had promised. In January 2012, S.J. ran away from home and began staying with Nyuon, who advertised her as a prostitute online and continued to arrange for her to engage in commercial sex transactions at Alaboudi's apartment and in other locations. On one visit to Alaboudi's apartment, Nyuon asked S.J. if she would have sex with Alaboudi, and after she said no at least three times, Alaboudi raped her. Law enforcement found S.J. by discovering her advertisement on a commercial sex website and conducting a sting operation.
J.W.'s sisters introduced her to Alaboudi after she ran away from home in November 2011 at age 15. When J.W. met Alaboudi, she had no money or place to stay and was looking for drugs. J.W. and one of her sisters discussed J.W.'s age in front of Alaboudi. Alaboudi talked to J.W. about having sex for money but told her that her sisters were " bad in bed" and he wanted to " taste" her first before setting up any transactions. Alaboudi had sex with J.W. and arranged for her to engage in commercial sex transactions with a number of men in his home, keeping the money for himself and ...