X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A California college student faces terrorism-linked charges for allegedly lying to federal investigators, and authorities say pictures of Osama bin Laden were later found in his apartment. A grand jury probing the Sept. 11 terror attacks as an act of war indicted Osama Awadallah, 21, of La Mesa, Calif., charging him with two perjury counts in U.S. District Court. The native of Jordan is accused of lying about associations with two men identified by federal authorities as hijackers of the airliner that hit the Pentagon — Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar, prosecutors said Thursday. The indictment, returned late Wednesday and made public Thursday, was the first to be made public in New York in connection with the terrorism investigation. According to the indictment, a search of Awadallah’s car after he was taken into custody in September produced videotapes titled “Martyrs of Bosnia,” “Bosnia 1993″ and “The Koran v. the Bible, Which is God’s Word?” A search of Awadallah’s apartment yielded computer-generated photos of bin Laden, the indictment said. Jesse Berman, Awadallah’s lawyer, called the materials found in his client’s car and apartment “window dressing” used by prosecutors desperate to build a case. “It’s obviously not a crime. It doesn’t mean anything. It catches the eye of people who want to find something where there’s not something seriously criminal,” Berman said. The grand jury investigating the terror attacks cited the presence of Awadallah’s telephone number in the car of a hijacker, along with the videotapes and photos, as evidence of a relationship they say Awadallah denied. The indictment said a search of a car registered to Al-Hazmi produced a piece of paper on which was written “OSAMA” and a seven-digit number found to match a former phone number assigned to Awadallah. The telephone number was mentioned when Awadallah made an initial court appearance after he was charged last month. At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Baker said Awadallah, “by lying to the grand jury … promoted terrorism.” Prosecutors said Awadallah identified Al-Hazmi in photos during testimony Oct. 10, saying he saw him 35 to 40 times in the San Diego area between April 2000 and last January. But they said he denied knowing Al-Mihdhar or writing his first name “Khalid” in an exam booklet in a class at Grossmont College. During testimony five days later, Awadallah said the writing was his but he could not identify Al-Mihdhar in a photograph, the government alleged. Berman said his client, having identified one hijacker, had no reason to lie about another. “He just wasn’t sure on that name,” Berman said. Last month, Berman said his client had “nothing to do with the terrible things that happened on Sept. 11.” The evidence could help prosecutors if they try to convince a jury that Awadallah was part of a conspiracy led by bin Laden. For the first time, prosecutors revealed that they plan to prosecute the broader case stemming from the terror attacks as an “attempt to levy war against the United States.” Among the offenses being investigated by a terrorism grand jury, prosecutors said, were “seditious conspiracy to levy war against the United States,” conspiracy to destroy aircraft and bombing conspiracy. The sedition law, a Civil War-era statute, makes it illegal “to conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the government of the United States or to levy war against them or to oppose by force the authority thereof.” The broad nature of the statute would permit prosecutors to introduce evidence at the trial that otherwise might be inadmissible. Prosecutors in Manhattan used it to prosecute a blind Egyptian sheik and 10 others in a 1993 “war of urban terrorism” meant to blow up the United Nations, an FBI building and two tunnels and a bridge linking Manhattan to New Jersey. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.