Thursday, October 04, 2007

Egypt to hire Lawyers for one of the Explosive College Students

Remember the two Muslim students from Florida that were caught near a US Naval Facility in South Carolina with a trunk load of explosive components?

Egypt, recipient of $2 billion annually in US aid is going to spend some of it on hiring an attorney to represent one of the accused Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed.

From Fox News:
Attorney John Fitzgibbons told a judge he was in talks with the Egyptian embassy in Washington and likely will be hired to represent suspended University of South Florida student Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed.

Ahmed el-Qawassni, an official in Egypt's foreign ministry, said the government is closely monitoring the case and confirmed that an attorney is being hired for Mohamed, who was born in Kuwait to Egyptian parents.

"We are responsible for the sons of Egypt abroad with no exception," el-Qawassni said.

Mohamed, 24, and another USF student, Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, are charged with carrying explosive materials across state lines.

Mohamed also is charged with distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. Authorities allege he made an Internet video showing how to use remote-controlled toys to detonate terrorist bombs.

Megahed, represented by a federal public defender, pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Fitzgibbons said during the brief hearing Wednesday that Mohamed will plead not guilty when he is arraigned Oct. 17.

Megahed, a permanent U.S. resident from Egypt, and Mohamed, who is in the U.S. on a student visa, were arrested during an Aug. 5 traffic stop in Goose Creek, S.C., about 15 miles northwest of Charleston. In the trunk of the car, according an FBI agent's statement, police found 20 feet of fuse, a box of .22-caliber bullets, a drill, several gallons of gasoline, PVC piping and gun powder.

The students told authorities they were carrying fireworks, and that they had been driving near a naval weapons station because they had been looking for cheap gas. Megahed's attorney now contends that he didn't know anything about the items in the trunk.

On Mohamed's laptop, according to the FBI agent's statement, was a video Mohamed made demonstrating how to convert a remote-control toy into a detonator for explosives.

Mohamed defense is apparently not off to an auspicious start given a statement he already made after he was arrested:

Mohamed told authorities he made the video "to assist those persons in Arabic countries to defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries," and that he considered American troops to invaders, according to the agent's statement.

His attorney is still rather optimistic:
After the hearing, Fitzgibbons said he had not seen all the evidence and declined to discuss the case.

"There's always two sides to every story, and I already see a different side to the story than what's been presented," he said.

Kind of hard to spin the story after Mohamed's statement, but hey he's doing a good job as a defense attorney should.

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