Bail Ruling for Lackawanna Six Set for Tuesday
By Eileen Buckley
Buffalo, NY – A bail hearing for the six Lackawanna men accused of operating a terrorist cell ended Thursday. U.S. Magistrate Kenneth Schroeder says he will release his decision next Tuesday at 2pm.
Defense attorneys had one last chance to respond to new evidence submitted by the government late last week. They argued that documents and tapes discovered in some of the suspects homes were religious in nature and did not call for threats against the U.S.
James Harrington, attorney for Sahim Alwan, says Americans have a right read what interests them. He called the government's evidence "grossly distorted."
Attorney Joseph Latona, representing Faysal Galab, agreed with Harrington.
"If I had a copy of "Das Capital" at my house, does that make me I'm a Nazi? Does that make me a communist?" Latona asked. "I think those lawyers had to make their points concerning materials taken from their clients did a great job in doing so."
Patrick Brown, representing Shafal Mosed, told the judge the eleven credit cards seized by the government belong to Mosed, his wife and brother. Brown told the courtroom the government is "blowing smoke" at the judge.
"The judge says he's going to take a lazer approach and we hope the lazer will cut through the smoke," Brown said.
The judge pressed prosecutor William Hochul, asking if the government knows of the names on the credit cards. Hockul finally admitted to the court that Brown was accurate in the names on each card seized from Mosed.
The judge says he will use two recent cases to help guide his decision -- a Ninth Circuit Appellate Court decision that ruled the statute of supporting a terrorist organization is "unconstitutional" and a conflicting ruling in the case against John Walker Lindh in which a judge ruled it is "constitutional."
U.S. Attorney Michael Battle says he believes the judge will issue a fair decision.
"What Judge Schroeder was saying is he has to consider that (constitutionality) at all times," Battle said. "If he determines or someone determines that the statute is unconstitutional, then there is no issue at all, whatsoever. But, again, it is our position that is not what is before the court at this time. However, the judge is entitled to his opinion."
Schroeder says he will "struggle" to make a final ruling.