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New evidence aids terrorism suspect
Question of the Day
MIAMI — A defense attorney for terrorism suspect Kifah Wael Jayyousi introduced into evidence yesterday a newsletter faxed to the defendant’s home that his attorneys contend illustrates he does not advocate or financially support Islamist violence.
The newsletter, titled Al-Saddiq (Arabic for “The Friend”), contains a mission statement saying the publication is produced by an all-volunteer group and supports the rights of Muslims worldwide, “in an Islamic and peaceful manner,” and condemns all uses of violence in the name of Islam.
Federal prosecutors balked at the defense’s late submission of the newsletter into evidence. All evidence was supposed to be submitted by March 8, federal attorneys reminded U.S. District Judge Marcia Clarke.
“For this now to come is an example is what we are concerned about. … There have been different rules for how [defense attorneys] perceive it on that side,” said prosecutor John Shipley, contending that the prosecution did not have an opportunity to prepare for the document’s presentation.
Mr. Jayyousi — along with Adham Amin Hassoun and lead suspect Jose Padilla — is accused of providing money, equipment and material support to terrorist organizations abroad. Mr. Padilla, 36, also is charged with being a willing recruit of al Qaeda.
Once the document was cleared for presentation, the lead defense attorney for Mr. Jayyousi, William Swor, asked FBI Special Agent John Kavanaugh to recall whether his client had ever advocated the use of violence in any of the phone calls and faxes intercepted by the bureau during its years of surveillance of the suspect.
Mr. Kavanaugh, a witness for the prosecution who has been on the stand since June 7, said he had never heard conversations or read documents that would illustrate claims by the prosecution that Mr. Jayyousi was a supporter of al Qaeda.
More than 300,000 phone conversations involving all three defendants and others were clandestinely recorded over nearly a decade by the FBI. At the outset of the trial, prosecutors said they would play for the jury 123 recordings, seven of which contain the voice of Mr. Padilla. So far, 44 recording have been played, none of which has directly linked Mr. Padilla or others to terrorist attacks.
Prior to the start of Mr. Kavanaugh’s testimony, Muslim convert Jeremy Collins, who worked at American Worldwide Relief, an organization headed by Mr. Jayyousi, testified on behalf of the prosecution that he distanced himself from the defendant after a fellow Muslim returned from Chechnya with part of his leg blown off by a land mine.
In addition to American Worldwide Relief, Mr. Jayyousi published a newsletter called the Islam Report, which prosecutors said was a propaganda publication for raising money for radical Islamic causes.
“It was just chaos. There was no relief work,” Mr. Collins recalled hearing from the associate wounded in fighting between Chechen rebels and Russian forces in the breakaway province. “There seemed to be more fighting than relief work.”
Both Mr. Jayyousi and Mr. Hassoun have been accused of encouraging young Muslims such as Mr. Padilla to travel to Chechnya during the mid-1990s to join forces intent on creating an independent Islamic state in the Russian province. Last week, jurors heard wiretapped conversations of Mr. Hassoun discussing what prosecutors assert were the travels of a fellow Muslim to Chechnya in 2000.
Prosecutor Brian Frazier asked Mr. Kavanaugh to interpret so-called “code phrases” used by Mr. Hassoun and Mohammad Youssef, a terrorism suspect in Egyptian custody, about the fighting in Chechnya that was raging.
“Everyone is closing up the store at 9/15,” Mr. Hassoun was heard saying in a conversation with Mr. Youssef, who at the time was supposedly en route to Chechnya.
By Michael P. Orsi
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