Crime - Sacto 911

Court hearing delayed for Lodi Islamist suspect

Nicholas Teausant speaks to The Bee from jail.
Nicholas Teausant speaks to The Bee from jail. Sacramento Bee

Court proceedings for Nicholas Teausant, the Lodi-area man accused of trying to join up as a fighter for the Islamic State, have been postponed for another month as his defense attorneys study classified documents that have been submitted as evidence in the case.

Teausant, 21, had been scheduled to make an appearance in federal court in Sacramento on Tuesday, but U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez issued an order Thursday pushing the next hearing back to Oct. 20 because of the amount of evidence that is coming in and must be reviewed.

“The most recent production included a significant volume of classified information,” attorneys in the case wrote in court documents filed Thursday. “Classified information requires special handling, making the review of the latest production time-consuming.”

The latest delay also comes as both sides seek “to reach a negotiated resolution of the case,” documents state.

The case has experienced a series of delays since Teausant’s arrest in March 2014 as he tried to enter Canada, allegedly on his way to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

At the time of his arrest on a charge of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State was still a relatively unknown organization. Since then, hundreds of Americans have tried to travel overseas to join the organization, the FBI has estimated.

Teausant, a former member of the California National Guard and community college student, is accused of boasting of wanting to bomb the Los Angeles subway system and other targets, although he said in interviews with The Sacramento Bee last year that he posed no threat to his countrymen.

Teausant, a convert to Islam, is being held without bail in the Sacramento County jail. His mental competence has been questioned during his incarceration, and at one point he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In December, Mendez found reasonable cause to believe Teausant was not mentally competent to understand the charge he faced and had him sent to a federal detention center in Los Angeles for evaluation.

He was declared in August to be mentally fit to stand trial and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.