NEW YORK – Lawyers for a Yemeni sheik accused of funneling millions of dollars to terrorist networks say American officials have canceled visas for four men expected to testify for the defense, according to a published report.
Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad (search) and his aide, Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed (search ), are accused of raising money for Al Qaeda (search) and Hamas (search) at Brooklyn mosques and other places. Opening statements in their trial were expected Jan. 25.
At a hearing Monday, Zayed's lawyer told a judge that he learned the visas for the men, who were from Yemen, had been canceled for national security reasons, The New York Times reported in its Tuesday editions.
William Goodman, a lawyer for al-Moayad, said he believed the visas were canceled so close to the beginning of the trial.
Prosecutor Kelly Moore said she would ask the State Department about it, but was not sure much could be done.
A State Department spokeswoman noted that without information about the witnesses, the agency could not confirm the men had ever applied for visas or if the documents had been issued or canceled.
If convicted al-Moayad, 56, could face more than 60 years in prison; Zayed, 31, could face more than 30 years.