MIAMI – A federal judge refused to set bail for terror suspect Jose Padilla on Friday after hearing about his extensive travel overseas and his history of skipping bail in criminal cases.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke upheld another judge's ruling that Padilla would remain jailed without bond because he likely would attempt to flee prosecution and remained a danger to the community.
Padilla, a 35-year-old U.S. citizen and former Chicago gang member, is charged with being a recruit for a North American terror cell that provided fighters, money and supplies to Islamic extremists around the world.
He was held for 3 1/2 years by the military as an "enemy combatant" before he was charged in civilian court late last year.
Federal prosecutor Stephanie Pell said Padilla had a history of arrests and convictions for violent crimes — including murder as a juvenile in 1985 — and had forfeited bond by failing to appear on four other occasions.
Padilla has a wife and children overseas, has used aliases and has traveled in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pell said.
"He has the motive and the way to leave, and he will do so," she said.
Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in May 2002.
Initially, he was accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a major U.S. city as an Al Qaeda terror operative. But the charges brought in federal court do not mention that, alleging only that he conspired to commit violence overseas and that he provided material support to terrorists.
Trial is scheduled to begin in early September for Padilla, who is charged along with four other men in the case. All have pleaded not guilty.