Lawyer for accused terrorist denies client took photos of NYC landmarks for targets – NBC New York

A jury in Manhattan federal court returned a mixed verdict on Wednesday in the trial of a New Jersey software developer who authorities say researched and photographed US landmarks for possible attacks.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of terrorism – providing material support to a terrorist group – but found that Alexei Saab, 44, had received military-style training from the Organization of the Islamic Jihad of Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

Saab was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraudulent marriage and misrepresentation. The Morristown, New Jersey resident was cleared of three other counts after a two-week trial.

Saab’s attorney, Marlon Kirton, said much of the evidence came from what Saab himself told FBI investigators, which was “uncredible, crazy, unsubstantiated information”, and which does not can be considered reliable.

Saab spoke with the FBI in 11 sessions over several weeks before his 2019 arrest, but was never read his rights, Kirton said in an email after the verdict.

US attorney Damian Williams pointed to the jury’s unanimous verdict that Saab was formed by a terrorist organization.

“Evidence at trial showed that Saab was monitoring some of New York’s most iconic and busy locations,” Williams said in a statement, “to provide critical intelligence on how they could most effectively be attacked. “.

Judge Paul G. Gardephe questioned whether sentencing on terrorism charges would be based on rules about how the statute of limitations relates to terrorism charges. He has asked lawyers for both sides to submit written arguments within weeks about the charge, which carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Gardephe said he wanted to know if it was Congress’s intention that there be no limit on how long the government could wait to bring charges against someone who received military-style training from a terrorist organization.

Prosecutors also had a week to decide whether to seek a new trial for the material support charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The other two convictions for conspiracy to commit a fraudulent marriage and for misrepresentation each carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors say that, according to Saab, he joined Hezbollah in 1996 and once tried to kill a man he later figured out was a suspected Israeli spy by pointing a gun at the individual at close range, but the firearm jammed. They said he monitored potential targets for terrorist attacks from 2000 to 2005 while working as a technology software engineer by day.

Jon J. Epps