Setting It Straight: A story on Page A1 Wednesday about a hearing involving two Lodi men who allegedly lied about terrorist connections incorrectly said a U.S. magistrate judge refused to set bail. The judge denied a motion to reopen the question of detention which, if granted, would have led to a motion to set bail.
During secretly recorded conversations, one of two Lodi men charged with lying about their alleged terrorist connections vowed his determination to wage a holy war against enemies of Islam, according to a brief filed by prosecutors in Sacramento federal court.
The prosecutors cite talks in March and April 2003 between Hamid Hayat and a government undercover agent who befriended him and surreptitiously recorded their conversations.
According to the brief, Hayat "revealed that he understood the nature and structure of various known Pakistani terrorist groups and ... (he) further swore that he would go to jihad."
The information came to light as defense attorneys renewed efforts to get bail for Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd on Tuesday refused to set bail, ruling there has been no material change since the Hayats had been ordered held without bail in June.
"This is one of the most serious flight-risk cases that have been before me in my eight years on the bench," Drozd said. "In my view this is not a half-a-million-dollar case. It would take a lot more security than that for me to grant bail, even if I did reopen the question."
Fighting to keep the pair in jail, federal prosecutors R. Steven Lapham and S. Robert Tice-Raskin filed the court brief, which provides the most details yet of the men's lives and alleged crimes.
The Hayats, both U.S. citizens, are charged in a grand jury indictment with making false statements to FBI agents about their alleged connections to and knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.
The Hayats have denied the charges.
The FBI investigation also targeted two Lodi imams, Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed, and Adil Khan's son, Mohammad Hassan Adil. All three were jailed on immigration violations and were voluntarily deported to Pakistan.
The Hayats' attorneys, Johnny Griffin III and Wazhma Mojaddidi, argued in a protracted hearing Monday and Tuesday that their clients are not charged with violent crimes and have been deprived of their right to a trial within 70 days of arraignment, so they should be released on bail pending trial. No trial date has been set.
In the 23-page brief opposing the Hayats' release, Lapham and Tice-Raskin state that the "weight of the evidence" against them "is substantial and compelling."
For example, in April 2003, the Hayat family traveled to Pakistan. After they arrived, Hamid Hayat engaged in a series of secretly recorded telephone conversations with the undercover agent he had been talking to in Lodi, according to the brief.
Hamid Hayat advised the agent that he "genuinely desired to attend a camp and strongly indicated in his final conversation with the (agent) that he had been accepted to 'training' and was going to attend the same after Ramadan in 2003," the brief says.
In a reply brief, Griffin, who is Umer Hayat's attorney, said, "If the government had any credible evidence that the defendants were truly engaged in jihad and terrorist training, they would have sought an indictment for such conduct. Their refusal to do so is telling."
Griffin said the information in the government's brief is "based on preliminary summary translations" of the recordings.
He said he "anticipates that the actual statements made during these recordings, and the circumstances under which certain statements were made, will not support the government's position."
When Hamid Hayat returned to the United States in late May, his presence on the government's "no fly" list caused the plane to be diverted to Tokyo, where he was questioned by FBI agents and released.
In that interview, a second one at his home in Lodi on June 3, and a third one at FBI headquarters in Sacramento on June 4, Hamid Hayat repeatedly denied participating in any sort of jihadi or terrorist training in Pakistan.
On June 4 at the FBI's offices, he took and failed a polygraph examination. After that, in a videotaped interview, he admitted attending a jihadist training camp in Pakistan for three to six months in 2003 and 2004, and another camp for three days in 2000, the prosecutors allege in their brief.
"He described with fair detail, the location of the second camp and layout of the same," the brief says.
He allegedly told the agents the purpose of both camps was to "train for jihad and to teach people to kill those who work against Muslims," the brief says.
The brief says Hamid Hayat told agents that "he was being trained to and intended to commit jihad in the U.S.," and that he "did not have any orders to fight at present; however, he was awaiting such orders."
Meanwhile, on Saturday, June 4, Umer Hayat was at the FBI's offices denying that he had any firsthand knowledge of training camps in Pakistan, "indicating that he would swear on the Quran that this were true," the prosecution brief relates.
Umer Hayat was subsequently confronted with a portion of his son's videotaped interview.
After that, he admitted that his son attended a jihadist training camp and that he paid for Hamid Hayat's flight to Pakistan and provided him with an allowance of $100 a month, "knowing that Hamid's intention was to attend a jihadi training camp," the government brief says.
The brief quotes Umer Hayat as saying his son became interested in attending a jihadi training camp during his early teenage years, "after being influenced by a classmate at the madrassah (religious school) Hamid attended in Rawalpindi, Pakistan."
Umer Hayat explained that the madrassah was operated by his father-in-law, who sends students to jihadi training camps, according to the brief.
"After completing his education at the madrassah, Hamid Hayat went to a training camp ... for six months," the brief says Umer Hayat told the agents.
The Hayats have renounced their confessions, claiming they were made under duress.
The brief points out that Umer Hayat, while a naturalized citizen, has spent a lot of time living in Pakistan since coming to the United States in 1976.
Hamid Hayat was born in Stockton, but has lived more than half his life in Pakistan, the brief says.
"In short," it says, "even though defendants have some ties to the Lodi area, they have very significant and current ties to Pakistan ... which could easily be utilized to facilitate a flight from justice in the United States."
Griffin argued strongly Tuesday in court that the Hayats have no thought of fleeing to Pakistan.
"They want to stay here, fight these allegations and clear their names and their family name," he said. "They want their day in court as soon as possible.
"Besides, they have no way of running," he added. They have surrendered their passports to the government, and they are probably on every 'no fly' list in the world."
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- The Bee's Denny Walsh can be reached at (916) 321-1189 or email@example.com.