Judge: Government must give terror suspect details behind charges
Minneapolis — (AP) A federal judge ordered prosecutors on Friday to provide additional evidence regarding the charges against a terrorism suspect who has been detained without a trial in Minnesota for three years.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim told prosecutors to issue a "bill of particulars" about the charges that Mohamed Abdullah Warsame, 33, helped support the al-Qaida terrorist organization.
Warsame, a Canadian citizen of Somali descent, is charged with lying to federal agents about going to Afghanistan and sending $2,000 to a man he met at a training camp there. Authorities say he once dined beside Osama bin Laden and fought for the Taliban.
Warsame wants the identities of his alleged co-conspirators, the alleged timing of his actions and who allegedly died as a result of those actions. He said he needed the information to put together his defense.
Prosecutors argued, unsuccessfully, that the indictment in the case provided sufficient details.
Warsame also asked Tunheim to order the government to reveal the identifies of two confidential informants mentioned in his arrest warrant, and Warsame asked to be released pending the trial.
Tunheim denied the latter two requests, for now. The judge ruled the government didn't have to reveal the identities of the informants because they have not been connected to the criminal case.
"Moreover, Warsame has not demonstrated that disclosure of the informants would be relevant and helpful to the defense, or would be essential to a fair determination of the case," Tunheim wrote.
Tunheim also refused to release Warsame pending a trial, although he wrote he was concerned about the conditions under which Warsame was being held. He noted that the U.S. Marshal's Service had increased Warsame's privileges.
Warsame became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2002. He lived in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter from 2002 to 2003 while he attended Minneapolis Community College. He has no criminal record.
Warsame was initially taken into custody in February 2004 as a potential witness for several months in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person in this country to be convicted in the Sept. 11 attacks. Warsame was later charged with providing material support to al-Qaida.
Later, a grand jury charged Warsame with lying to the FBI. Prosecutors said he traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001, but told agents he had only traveled to Saudi Arabia and Somalia since 1995.