FBI: Minn. al-Shabab recruiting suspect not coerced under questioningby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — An FBI agent testified in federal court Wednesday that a former Minneapolis man accused of financing the travels of al-Shabab recruits was treated fairly during questioning.
The federal government said Mahamud Said Omar, 46, helped pay for several young Minnesota men's trips to Somalia and even bought their AK-47 rifles. In 2008, Omar applied for political asylum in the Netherlands. Dutch authorities arrested him a year later at the request of the FBI.
FBI Special Agent Kiann Vandenover said in interviews Omar appeared alert and repeatedly waived his right to have a lawyer present. But Vandenover said he did appear agitated at times. Months later during a second round of interviews at a Dutch prison, he twice broke down crying.
Omar's attorneys argue that he was in solitary confinement and did not have the will to be questioned. They're asking a judge to exclude his statements at trial.
A trial date has not yet been set.
Defense attorney Jon Hopeman said he is "90 percent" confident his client will go to trial rather than take a plea deal.
On Wednesday, the government also called as witnesses two Dutch authorities: an immigration official familiar with Omar's asylum case and a police commissioner who helped track down Omar in a "bungalow park" housing asylum seekers. Defense attorneys are asking the judge to suppress evidence obtained through wiretaps and through searches conducted at the asylum-seeker center.