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Feds Taped Calif. Terror Suspects for 3 Years

Federal officials disclosed Friday that they secretly tape-recorded Pakistanis in the agricultural community of Lodi (search) for nearly three years before bringing terror-related charges against a father and son and seeking to deport two Islamic leaders.

Fifty tapes in Urdu and Pashto were turned over this week to lawyers for Hamid Hayat (search), 22, and his father, Umer Hayat (search), 47.

The son is charged with lying to the FBI (search) about attending a terrorism camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. His father is charged with lying when he denied his son had attended such a camp.

The tapes are among scores of recordings made by an informant or undercover investigator starting in August 2002, prosecutors and defense attorneys said during a preliminary hearing Friday.

The Hayats' trial was scheduled to begin Aug. 23, but U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. delayed it Friday, saying the volume of evidence being gathered is so great it will take at least an extra 60 days to consider which classified materials can be used. He set another hearing for Oct. 7.

The Hayats weren't the initial targets of the investigation in Lodi, a town of 62,000 about 30 miles south of Sacramento, and prosecutors said they have had to pare out other taped conversations and re-record the edited tapes.

"They're selectively picking and choosing what they're giving us," objected Wazhma Mojaddidi, Hamid Hayat's attorney.

Umer Hayat's attorney, Johnny Griffin III, said the case should be dismissed because of government delays in turning over evidence, but Burrell ruled prosecutors were moving with due speed.

"I'm sure (the Hayats) are disappointed," Griffin said outside court. "They really wanted their day in court to clear their name."

The government also is seeking to deport two Lodi religious leaders to Pakistan on alleged visa violations.

Shabbir Ahmed is set for an immigration hearing Tuesday in San Francisco.

Muhammed Adil Khan agreed last month to be deported, but his departure has been delayed because he isn't permitted to fly by commercial airliner and the government must charter a private jet, Griffin said. Griffin wants Khan kept in the country as a potential witness in the Hayats' defense.

The case against the Hayats picked up in late May when Hamid Hayat was determined to be on the federal "no fly" list as he was returning to the United States from Pakistan, said Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Robert Tice-Raskin.