In a late Tuesday night court filing, the department told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen it supports the Detroit defendants’ request for a new trial and would no longer pursue terrorism charges against them. The defendants at most would only face fraud charges at a new trial.
The Justice Department is “concurring in the defendants’ motions for a new trial” and asks the court to dismiss the first count of the original indictment charging the defendants with material support of terrorism, according to a summary of the government’s filing that was obtained by The Associated Press through the court’s electronic access system.
The filing said there was a 60-page memo laying out the government’s concerns about its own prosecutors’ handling of the case, but that document was not immediately available through the courts’ electronic access….
Swor said the dropping of the terrorism charges leaves the government with “a garden-variety document case” against his client. “Our work is just beginning.”…
The retired CIA officer told the Justice Department that he came to a somewhat different analysis of a sketch the prosecutors introduced at trial as evidence the Detroit men cased and intended to attack a Turkish air base, the sources said. They said he offered to testify at the trial but was turned down.
The internal review also turned up evidence the government failed to turn over satellite photos of a suspected terror target in Jordan that the Detroit cell was accused of plotting to attack, the legal sources said. Instead, the government had indicated there were no such photos.
Also, some testimony government witnesses gave at trial was wrong or overstated, according to evidence turned up by the internal review, leading to the decision that terrorism charges could not be supported at a new trial, the legal sources said.
At the same time, the government uncovered new evidence, recently reported by the AP, that FBI agents in Las Vegas and Detroit disagreed over whether a videotape found in the Detroit terror cell’s apartment was surveillance footage, as jurors were told.
A Tunisian man who appeared in the videotape of landmarks in New York, Las Vegas and California has told investigators the tape was amateur footage from a university student trip, not surveillance as prosecutors claimed, the AP reported.