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Lodi suspects may renew bid for bail

Setting It Straight: A story on Metro Page B1 Tuesday misspelled the name of Wazhma Mojaddidi, a defense attorney for a Lodi man charged in Sacramento federal court with lying about alleged terrorist connections.

Attorneys for a father and son from Lodi charged in Sacramento federal court with lying about their alleged terrorist connections are gearing up for another run at pretrial freedom for their clients.

In the wake of U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell's ruling that the pair's trial will not start Aug. 23, the date originally set, Johnny L. Griffin III and Wazhma Mojaddadi are preparing to argue that their clients should not have to sit in jail while the government prepares for trial.

Umer Hayat, 47, and Hamid Hayat, 22, were arrested June 5. During a marathon interrogation by the FBI, they first denied ties to terrorist training camps, then admitted them and finally denied them again.

Late Monday, Griffin and Mojaddadi were drafting motions for a second hearing on bail pending trial that they hoped to file sometime later in the evening.

Shortly after the Hayats' arrests, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski found the pair to be dangerous and flight risks, and ordered them held without bail.

Griffin and Mojaddadi pushed their clients' rights under the federal Speedy Trial Act to be tried within 70 days of arraignment, and Burrell set the Aug. 23 date.

Eleven days ago, however, Burrell did an about-face, ruling that the prosecutors need more time to find, analyze and process all the information the government has on the Hayats.

In an Aug. 5 order, the judge wrote that "it is unreasonable to expect the government to respond to defendants' broad discovery requests within the time prescribed."

Defense attorneys had asked prosecutors to turn over all information on the Hayats that may be held by more than 40 local, state and federal agencies.

Griffin argued that the prosecutors should have anticipated such a request and not have charged and jailed the defendants until they were set for trial.

But Burrell postponed the trial and set two hearings for Oct. 7.

Umer Hayat and Hamid Hayat are charged in a grand jury indictment with lying to FBI agents about their alleged connections and knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

In again attempting to get them bail pending trial, their attorneys will argue that both have significant ties to the Lodi community. Umer Hayat is a naturalized citizen who came to the United States in 1976. Hamid Hayat was born in Stockton.

Griffin will argue that Umer Hayat has been a self-employed ice cream truck driver for 15 years and co-owns property in Lodi that can be used as collateral for bond.

The property consists of two separate houses on the same lot. Umer Hayat, his wife and his four children have lived in one of the houses since 1985. He rents the other house to a family for $1,000 a month.

Nowinski refused to set bail based on the government's allegations that the family has a home in Pakistan and Umer Hayat contributed financial assistance to his son while Hamid Hayat attended an al-Qaida-sponsored terrorist training camp where how to kill Americans was taught.

"Despite these sensational allegations, the grand jury returned an indictment that charged (the Hayats) with ... making ... false statement(s)," Griffin will argue in court papers.

The defendants are "not charged with providing material support to terrorists and designated terrorist organizations." Those are claims prosecutors make outside the bounds of the indictment, Griffin will stress.

The pair are not charged with a violent crime and the charges are "based on (their) own unreliable statements," Griffin and Mojaddadi will argue.

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