Monday, July 17, 2006

Interesting hearing on Padilla

More developments in the Jose Padilla case emerged from a pretrial hearing on Padilla's motion to suppress. Apparently he was first stopped on the pretext that he had over $10,000 in cash at the airport but had only declared $8,000. Law enforcement was hiding in a closet because they didn't want to spook him, waiting to confront him about a possible terror attack... The hearing continues tomorrow in front of Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown. The whole AP article is here. Here's a snippet:

Russell Fincher, an agent in the FBI's New York-based unit investigating Osama bin Laden, testified at a pretrial hearing in Padilla's terrorism support case that he traveled to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in May 2002. He wanted to meet Padilla's plane so that he might uncover al-Qaida's plans.

"I believed there was a terrorist act that was going to happen. I believed he had knowledge of that. I needed his help," Fincher said of Padilla. "I didn't want to arrest him."
During an interview over nearly five hours in an airport conference room, Fincher said Padilla talked freely about his criminal past as a Chicago gang member, his conversion to Islam and his travels in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere. But when his story didn't add up, Fincher said he confronted Padilla with terrorist allegations and asked if he would testify before a grand jury about his purported al-Qaida connections.

"He stood up and told me the interview was over and it was time for him to go," Fincher said.
Padilla was then arrested on a material witness warrant, which allows a person with direct knowledge of alleged criminal acts to be taken into custody. A month later, President Bush designated him an "enemy combatant" and he was placed in military custody. He remained there until November, when he was charged in an existing Miami case.

Monday's hearing concerned whether Padilla was officially in law enforcement custody during the interview and, if so, whether he was properly advised of his rights as a suspect. Padilla's lawyers said his statements should be barred from trial if those rights were violated.

1 comment:

Miamista said...

Why am I not suprised how lacking the state was in any significant evidence or reason to try Padilla much less hold him as an "enemy combatant".