“Allen also contends that Megahed didn’t know anything about the contents of the trunk or the video that investigators found stored on a laptop computer in the car.” Yes, of course. The guy he’s driving with has jihadist video about “how to use a remote-controlled toy to detonate a bomb,” but he doesn’t know anything about it. He’s just a naive kid.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) “” A federal prosecutor disputes defense claims that two Egyptian college students arrested near a South Carolina Navy weapons station were carrying harmless fireworks and not dangerous explosives.
An attorney for Youssef Samir Megahed filed a motion last week asking a judge to reconsider granting bail. He cited an FBI report that characterized the items found in the trunk of the car as a pyrotechnic mixture that burned but didn’t explode when tested.
But federal prosecutor Jay Hoffer, in a motion filed Monday opposing bond for Megahed, said defense attorney Adam Allen “mischaracterized” the FBI report in describing the items in the trunk as harmless.
Hoffer said the items “” including PVC pipe containing a mixture of sugar and potassium nitrate and capped with cat litter “” meet the federal legal definition of explosives. FBI analysts determined that the mixture could explode if it was packed more tightly in the pipe and capped, Hoffer wrote.
“Experts from the FBI Laboratory describe these items as dangerous; the degree of their dangerousness is, according to them, dependent both upon their use and their surroundings,” the motion said.
Allen said the mixture wouldn’t have been packed in the pipes and capped off because Megahed’s co-defendant, Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, has said he was building “sugar rockets,” which are supposed to lift off the ground but not explode.
“It is indisputable that the FBI testing of replicas of these PVC mixture pipes clearly illustrated that when ignited, they either burned, smoked or did nothing at all, which I think is completely relevant to my client’s detention,” Allen said Tuesday.
Megahed, 21, and Mohamed, 26, have been in jail since sheriff’s deputies found what they called bomb-making materials in the trunk of their car during an Aug. 4 traffic stop near Charleston, S.C. They are charged with illegally transporting explosives.
Mohamed also faces a terrorism-related charge for allegedly making a video demonstrating how to convert a remote-control toy into a detonator for a bomb.
Allen said the two University of South Florida engineering students were on an innocent road trip to see beaches when they were stopped for speeding. Allen also contends that Megahed didn’t know anything about the contents of the trunk or the video that investigators found stored on a laptop computer in the car.
Prosecutors have never presented any evidence that the students planned any wrongdoing, and Allen called the suggestion “absurd.” Allen said the GPS unit in the car showed they were driving away from the Charleston Naval Weapons Station, which was about eight miles away from where they were stopped.
Hoffer said in his filing that the GPS data sheds no light on the defendants’ intentions. He also said that early on the morning of their arrest, Megahed and Mohamed had attempted to buy “high-powered rifles” at a Wal-Mart.