A Seattle federal judge encouraged the United States Attorney’s Office to put new lawyers on a high-profile terrorism case, as he chastised the feds handling of the prosecution.
Judge James Robert handed federal authorities a setback in the prosecution of Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif. He ruled that the two federal prosecutors assigned to the case, Todd Greenberg and Michael Dion, could be called as witnesses by the defense.
The judge indicated the ruling should make it difficult for the pair to continue to prosecute the case. He called it “a self-inflicted wound on the part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
At issue are nearly 400 text messages that a Seattle police detective deleted, after prosecutors told him not to destroy any potential evidence. The texts were exchanges between the detective and the confidential informant that helped the FBI snare Abdul-Latif.
Latif-Abdul’s defense team contends the text messages could have contained valuable information that would have bolstered his case. They’ve asked the judge to throw the case out. They will be able to question the prosecutors in hearings and at trial about how evidence was handled.
At a December 7 hearing, the judge will decide if the detective and the confidential informant acted in “bad faith” when they deleted their communications.
Abdul-Latif is the accused mastermind of a plan to shoot recruits at a military processing center in South Seattle.
His wife attended the Thursday court hearing.
“I was very happy,” said Binta Moussa-Davis told KING 5. “I thank my Allah, God. I continue to be happy and continue to pray until my husband walks free.”
Moussa-Davis contends the informant and the FBI set her husband up.
Federal investigators have previously said Abdul-Latif and a co-defendant were given repeated chances to back out of the plot, but were arrested soon after they purchased weapons that they didn’t know were supplied by the FBI.