The first major federal terrorism convictions since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks may be dismissed. The Detroit News says U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen has ordered FBI agents and federal prosecutors to appear tomorrow at a hearing after the government acknowledged it failed give the defense a potentially significant piece of evidence. A 2001, letter from convicted drug dealer Milton “Butch” Jones raised questions about the key witness in the trial of four Detroit-area men accused of forming an underground cell to support terrorism.
A federal official told The Detroit News that the Justice Department believes two prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Convertino and Keith Corbett, were ordered to turn over the Jones letter but failed to do it. A ruling that voided the conviction would be a major embarrassment for the Bush administration.
The case stems from the Sept. 17, 2001, raid of an apartment, where FBI agents found three men with phony identification, airport employee badges, and a day planner with drawings they said were “casing sketches” of military targets in Jordan and Turkey.