American Scene: Charges against Muslim cleric dismissed by judge

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FLORIDA

MIAMI — A Florida federal judge has dismissed terrorism support and conspiracy charges against a Muslim cleric accused along with his father of funneling cash to the Pakistani Taliban.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola ruled Thursday there was insufficient evidence against 26-year-old Izhar Khan. He is an imam at a mosque in suburban Margate north of Fort Lauderdale.

The judge is letting the case against Mr. Khan’s father, 77-year-old Hafiz Khan, go forward and the trial is continuing in Miami federal court.

Judge Scola ruled that Izhar Khan’s involvement in two transactions totaling $1,100 did not show he was supporting Taliban fighters. Charges against another of Hafiz Khan’s sons were dropped earlier by prosecutors.

Hafiz Khan is on trial for four terrorism support-related charges that each carry maximum 15-year prison sentences.

NEVADA

Attorney seeks release of Saudi rape suspect

LAS VEGAS — A defense attorney says he’ll seek the release from jail of a 23-year-old Saudi Arabia air force sergeant facing a child rape charge in Las Vegas.

Mazen Alotaibi stood in shackles Thursday and stared at the courtroom floor while a Las Vegas judge delayed an evidence hearing pending a bail hearing Friday.

Defense attorney Don Chairez said later that he’ll offer to have Mr. Alotaibi turn in his Saudi diplomatic passport if he’s allowed to post bail.

Mr. Alotaibi faces kidnapping, sexual assault with a minor and felony coercion charges that could get him decades in prison.

Police allege that Mr. Alotaibi pulled a 13-year-old boy into a sixth-floor room at the Circus Circus hotel and sexually assaulted him the morning before Las Vegas‘ big New Year’s Eve celebration.

WEST VIRGINIA

Mine superintendent given 2 years on federal charge

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