Attorneys for terrorist suspect, and former Texas Tech student, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari are challenging evidence planning to be used by the prosecution during the April 30 trial.
Aldawsari’s defense team, which currently consists of Rod Hobson of Lubbock and Dan Cogdell and Paul Doyle of Houston, asked U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings to not allow government prosecutors to show two videos and photographs demonstrating a government test of explosions and any information from Aldawsari’s computer that depicts or promotes death, torture or terrorist groups.
A suppression hearing was also set in March to determine whether the evidence uncovered leading to the accused’s arrest was obtained illegally and should not be revealed to the jury during the April 30 trial, or if the evidence is protected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
A court hearing took place Oct. 29 for Cummings to consider a defense motion challenging the use of certain evidence in the upcoming trial. The motion also asked Cummings to let the defense team see the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act materials, which are classified and sealed.
They claimed the FISA is unconstitutional and the evidence obtained does not fall under the scope of FISA because the purpose of the FBI’s search was to carry out a criminal investigation and not to gather foreign intelligence.
Aldawsari entered the United States in September 2008 and transferred to Tech in August 2009, as a chemical engineering major. He then transferred to South Plains College in Levelland in January 2011 as a business major, because of his failing grades at Tech.
Aldawsari, who was born April 24, 1990, has citizenship from Saudi Arabia. Immigration records state he was lawfully admitted into the country via his F-1 student visa.
Carolina Biological Supply in Burlington, N.C., first notified FBI agents Feb. 1, 2011 of a suspicious purchase of phenol, made by Aldawsari. Phenol is defined as a toxic chemical with a variety of uses including the making of trinitrophenol, an explosive more commonly known as TNP.
The FBI conducted a search of Aldawsari’s apartment Feb. 14, 2011 with an order under FISA, where they then found a notebook with Arabic writing inside. The police report states the journal confirmed Aldawsari had been planning for years to commit a terrorist attack in the United States.
He was arrested Feb. 23, 2011. If convicted, Aldawsari could face life in prison.