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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Attorneys for N.C. terrorism suspects request hearing delay; eighth defendant 'not in the U.S.'

Posted by on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Attorneys representing five of the seven North Carolina men on trial for terrorism charges have requested that their detention hearings be delayed until next week. Two other attorneys have just been assigned their cases today, and have not yet filed motions for continuance.

The detention hearings, currently scheduled for Thursday at the federal courthouse in Raleigh at 1 p.m. for all but one of the defendants (Anes Subasic is scheduled to make his first appearance, with a Yugoslavian interpreter, today.), will determine whether the defendants will remain in custody of if they can post bond for release.

Meanwhile, The News & Observer is reporting, based on AP wire reports, that an eighth defendant, whom the newspaper names as Jude Mohammad, is "likely in Pakistan."

However, Amy Thoreson, media representative for the FBI, was quick to note that the eighth defendant's name has "not been confirmed by anyone," and would not confirm if the defendant is in Pakistan.

“We are still actively seeking that person, but they are not in the U.S," she told the Indy.

All seven defendants have been assigned public defenders. Daniel Patrick Boyd, who faces all seven charges in the federal indictment, has been appointed two federal public defenders. Each of the other defendants has been appointed one private defense attorney who has agreed to take on such federal defense cases as de facto public defenders.

New Bern, N.C.-based attorney Robert McAfee, who is representing Hysen Sherifi, told the Indy the case had just come across his desk Tuesday. In a continuance motion (PDF, 64 KB) filed later that day, McAfee requested that his client's detention hearing be delayed to a date "no sooner than August 4." McAfee writes:

Counsel was appointed this day, July 28, 2009, as a CJA panel attorney, upon defendant's request for counsel. The undersigned has not yet met with the defendant, who, upon information and belief, is housed at the Wake County Detention Center. Counsel is unable to drive to Raleigh to meet with the defendant in the short time remaining before the scheduled detention hearing.

McAfee noted he is due in Craven County Superior Court on Thursday to address "more than a dozen pending criminal matters." He writes that he has attempted to contact the U.S. Attorney's office regarding the motion, but has not yet verified their position. Robin Zier, a spokesperson for the N.C. Eastern District of the U.S. Attorney, said that until they hear from the judge, the prosecution will plan on a Thursday detention hearing.

Arraignment hearings--when the defendants enter their pleas--are scheduled for October 5, according to the case docket.

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