- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) One of six persons indicted last week on terrorism charges considered attacking synagogues or schools on American soil, federal prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Gorder told journalists he was ready to play recordings of Jeffrey Leon Battle making violent anti-American and pro-Taliban comments.

Another prosecutor, David Atkinson, said: "Mr. Battle indicates that he considered engaging in some kind of violent episode perhaps against a synagogue or a school in which he contemplates injuring numerous people."

Mr. Battle's attorney, Kristen Winemiller, did not immediately return a message for comment yesterday. Mr. Battle has a pretrial hearing Tuesday.

Mr. Gorder said a witness wore a wire during conversations with Mr. Battle last spring and recorded menacing comments, including Mr. Battle saying he wasn't interested in a suicide attack because he wanted to be around to see the damage.

The prosecutor made the comments after a hearing Thursday for October Lewis, another of the suspects charged with conspiring to levy war against the United States.

Mrs. Lewis, Mr. Battle's ex-wife, was ordered released from jail pending her trial; the order was appealed and Mrs. Lewis was still being held yesterday.

Prosecutors say Mrs. Lewis reportedly wired money to him and four other men while they were trying to enter Afghanistan through China and was aware the money would be used to join the fight against America.

The prosecution also revealed several e-mails exchanged between Mr. Battle and Mrs. Lewis, including one that said: "Don't tell anybody else of our plans, we should have learned our lessons about the evil eye by now."

Mr. Battle also writes that a visa application to Pakistan had been refused, prosecutors said.

Jack Ransom, the court-appointed attorney for Mrs. Lewis, said prosecutors have a weak case.

"In none of the e-mails is there any mention of anybody going to Afghanistan to fight against any government," Mr. Ransom said.

Besides Mr. Battle and Mrs. Lewis, the others charged with conspiracy to levy war were Habis Abdulla al Saoub, 36, who is at large; Patrice Lumumba Ford, 31, who was arrested last week in Portland and has pleaded not guilty; Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, 24, who turned himself in Sunday in Malaysia; and Bilal's brother, Mohammed Bilal, 22, who was arrested last week in Dearborn, Mich., and has pleaded not guilty.

The group apparently never made it to Afghanistan.


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