SACRAMENTO, Calif. – An FBI informant testified Thursday that a man charged with attending an Al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan repeatedly told him he was unable to make the arrangements to go because the camps had been shut down.
Federal prosecutors say 23-year-old Hamid Hayat intended to train as a terrorist and return to the United States to carry out attacks.
Hayat, a U.S. citizen, is charged with lying about attending an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan and with providing material support to terrorists. He faces up to 39 years in prison if convicted.
He was arrested shortly after returning to the U.S. in May 2005, based largely on the information supplied by the government informant, Naseem Khan, who had befriended him.
Hundreds of hours of secretly recorded conversations between the men have become central to the prosecution's case.
In conversation excerpts read to jurors Thursday, Khan repeatedly pressed Hayat about attending a terrorist training camp, expressing frustration when Hayat said he had been unable to make the arrangements because the camps had been shut down after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"He never told you that he went to a camp, correct?" asked Hayat's attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi.
"No, he did not," Khan replied. Khan testified that was true in all the conversations they had before and after Hayat left for Pakistan in June 2003.
Hayat confessed to attending a camp during a videotaped FBI interrogation, but Mojaddidi said her client was pressured and told agents only what they wanted to hear without realizing the consequences.
Hayat's father, 48-year-old Umer Hayat, was arrested with his son and faces two counts of making false statements to the FBI about whether his son attended the camp. He faces eight years in prison if convicted. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Opening statements in Umer Hayat's portion of the trial are scheduled for Tuesday, while Hamid Hayat's jury is to return March 13. Both juries are scheduled to return March 14 to hear testimony that affects both father and son.