Lodi man convicted

first_imgThe verdicts against Hamid Hayat were a victory for the Justice Department, which has faced a series of missteps involving terrorism-related cases nationwide. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued a statement praising the verdicts, saying Hamid Hayat “supported and trained with our terrorist enemies in pursuit of his goal of violent jihad.” He said the case was part of the government’s effort to “detect, disrupt and prevent terrorist acts.” Defense attorneys tried to persuade jurors that they should acquit the father and son because the government had provided no clear evidence that the younger man had attended a terrorist training camp. But prosecutors had characterized their case against the Hayats as pre-emptive. “This case is important because it shows that we can prevent further acts of terrorism by winning convictions against those who would plot deadly acts against our citizens before they can act,” U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said during a news conference after the verdicts. He said the investigation into potential terrorism activities in Lodi was continuing and would not rule out further charges. The case initially generated widespread interest because it raised concerns about a potential terrorist cell centered in the wine-producing region about 35 miles south of the state capital. But the government presented no evidence of a terrorism network during the nine-week trial. The case instead centered on videotaped confessions the men gave to FBI agents and a government informant who secretly recorded hundreds of hours of conversations but whose credibility was challenged by the defense. Prosecutors described Hamid Hayat as having “a jihadi heart and a jihadi mind,” who returned from a two-year visit to Pakistan intent on carrying out attacks. Defense attorneys’ biggest hurdle was trying to persuade jurors to discount the men’s videotaped confessions. The trial is the result of what the government initially thought might be a much larger case. Its investigation into Lodi’s 2,500-member Pakistani community began after agents received a tip in 2001 that Lodi-area businesses were sending money to terrorist groups abroad. Hamid Hayat’s sentencing was scheduled for July 14. Scott, the U.S. attorney, said he faces a minimum of 30 years in prison with his conviction on all counts.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a 23-year-old Lodi man of supporting terrorists by attending an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan three years ago. Hamid Hayat, a seasonal produce worker in the agricultural town south of Sacramento, was convicted of one count of providing material support to terrorists by attending the camp and three counts of lying about it to FBI agents. The defendant, who has a sixth-grade education, stood with his head bowed and arms crossed as the jury departed after the verdicts were read. He patted his attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, on the shoulder before he was led away. Afterward, Mojaddidi said she would file a motion seeking a new trial. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“I am obviously devastated and disappointed,” she said. “I believe they are wrong in their decision. Hamid Hayat never attended a terrorist training camp. This fight is not over. “There were outside influences that affected their decision (but) I am not prepared to elaborate at this time. An innocent man has been charged and found guilty.” The verdicts came hours after a separate jury hearing a case against the man’s father deadlocked, forcing U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to declare a mistrial. The father, 48-year-old ice cream truck driver Umer Hayat, is charged with two counts of lying to the FBI about his son’s involvement in the training camp. Defense attorneys and prosecutors will meet in court May 5 to decide whether he should be retried. Both men are U.S. citizens and stood trial in U.S. District Court before separate juries. They have been in custody since their arrests last June. last_img read more