The Justice Department wants the lawyer for Minneapolis terror suspect Mohammed A. Warsame to sign a document limiting his contacts about the case before the two will be allowed to confer,
says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The “special administrative measures” involved are among federal efforts to keep terrorism prosecutions under tight control. Warsame was charged by a federal grand jury with conspiring to provide material support to Al-Qaeda. Authorities say he admitted attending a training camp in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ward argued that the government’s restrictions would prohibit federal public defender Daniel Scott from relaying messages to third parties and wouldn’t hamper Warsame’s defense. Scott doesn’t want to sign the document because the limitations could infringe on Warsame’s rights. In a Seattle case, defense attorneys refused to sign such a document and took the matter to court, where the parties negotiated a settlement in which the attorneys answered to a judge, rather than the Justice Department.
Scott asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel yesterday to delay a detention hearing for Warsame so that he and prosecutors would have more time to discuss the government’s proposed restrictions and he and Warsame could have a chance to talk. “Up till now the government has not been willing to allow me to confer” with Warsame, Scott said. “If I don’t sign, I can’t see him. It’s that simple.”