Prosecutors in CA Terror Trial Face Setbacks


A federal trial of two men from California’s Central Valley on terrorism-related charges has run into difficulty because of the apparent unreliability of a key federal witness, the New York Times reports. The witness, a fast food worker who got $225,000 from the FBI for his cooperation, has been caught in numerous contradictions during the trial, including his claim that one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants had visited the tiny California town of Lodi as recently as 1997 or 1998 — something that terrorism experts have said is unlikely.

The government has charged Hamad Hayat, 23, with attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and then lying about it, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, with lying about his son’s activities to investigators. When the two men were arrested, the case was hailed by the Bush administration as evidence that U.S. authorities are rooting out terrorist cells and disrupting potential attacks, but if the two men are acquitted, the case will join several other recent prosecutions that have fizzled after initially being publicized as major successes.


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