Local News

Attorneys: No evidence against some Triangle terror suspects

Posted September 28, 2009 3:44 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2009 10:30 a.m. EDT

— Attorneys for at least two of the Triangle terror suspects said the U.S. government has no evidence against their clients and that the men were simply listening to speeches given by another man charged in the case.

On July 27, federal authorities indicted eight people with Triangle ties on charges that they plotted a series of terrorist attacks overseas and secured weapons and trained in North Carolina.

The defense has only seen a portion of the government's evidence. However, attorneys for at least two of the men said it is enough for them to question whether there is a case.

Accused ring leader Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, and Hysen Sherifi, 24, are also accused of planning an attack on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., according to an indictment.

Boyd scouted out the base and obtained maps of it, and he had armor-piercing ammunition "to attack the Americans," the indictment states.

Sherifi's attorney, Robert McAfee, is questioning the allegations against his client

"The 'new' conspiracy charge once again appear(s) to stem from Daniel Boyd’s extensive speeches to anyone in earshot, and Mr. Boyd’s familiarity with, and otherwise lawful possession of, firearms. The indictment tells me nothing about what my client is alleged to have actually done," McAfee wrote to WRAL News in an e-mail.

An attorney for Anes Subasic, another man charged in the case, made similar statements last month saying his client was merely being courteous to Boyd but had no bad intentions.

"I felt like he was being polite, but not necessarily agreeing with what Mr. Boyd said," said attorney Keat Wiles.

Boyd, his sons, Dylan Boyd, 22, and Zakariya "Zak" Boyd, 20, and four other men – Sherifi, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, Ziyad Yaghi, 21, and Subasic, 33 – were indicted in July on charges that they plotted to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas. They are being held without bond at a prison in Virginia.

An eighth suspect, Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20, is believed to be in Pakistan.

A judge locked up the suspects after seeing FBI photos showing a stash of weapons, 27,000 rounds of ammunition and a bunker-like hole under Boyd's deck. Most of the charges are linked to conspiracy.

"Being present where a conspiracy is being hatched alone is not enough to make you part of the conspiracy," said James Coleman, professor of law at Duke University.

There has to be an agreement, but the agreement doesn't always have to be spoken, Coleman said. Actions can take the place of words.

"The question is going to be: What is the evidence that the government presents to a jury who then will decide whether they proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Coleman said.

A trial in the case isn't expected to begin until late 2010, at the earliest. A federal judge has given prosecutors until Dec. 17 to declassify documents and other evidence they plan to use in the case so that defense attorneys can begin reviewing it and preparing their case.