Local News

Witness statements difficult to get in Triangle terrorism case

Posted August 17, 2010 5:49 a.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2010 12:00 p.m. EDT

— Obtaining depositions from foreign witnesses is proving to be problematic for attorneys representing several Triangle men accused of plotting acts of terrorism, one defense attorney said in court Tuesday.

Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, his sons, Dylan Boyd, 22, and Zakariya "Zak" Boyd, 20, and four other men – Hysen Sherifi, 24, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, Ziyad Yaghi, 21, and Anes Subasic, 33 – were indicted a year ago on charges that they plotted to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas.

An eighth suspect, Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20, is believed to be in Pakistan. A ninth suspect, Bajram Asllani, 29, was arrested in June in Kosovo in connection with charges that he provided material support to terrorists and conspired to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons.

Daniel Boyd and Sherifi also are charged with planning an attack on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

Court documents say that the FBI and state authorities had been monitoring the Triangle-area suspects since 2006 as they looked for a way to attack non-Muslims and perhaps also Muslims of whom they didn't approve. At various times, the documents say, Daniel Boyd and Sherifi mentioned dying as a suicide bomber in Afghanistan or fighting in Iraq, Syria, Palestine or Chechnya.

During a Tuesday court hearing, Yaghi's attorney, Douglas McCullough, sought court permission to obtain depositions from people in Jordan. He said their sworn statements would show that Yaghi was in Jordan for routine travel and to visit relatives, not to engage in terrorism.

Federal prosecutors said, however, that Jordanian officials might not even allow them into the country for the depositions, or if they do, might preclude them from cross-examining the witnesses.

U.S. Magistrate William Webb urged prosecutors and defense attorneys to work together to obtain the depositions in a manner that satisfies both sides.

The trial in the case is scheduled for September 2011.