SEATTLE – Two men accused of plotting to attack a Seattle military recruiting station have been ordered to remain in custody pending their trials, after neither contested their detentions during hearings Wednesday.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue Jr., each face up to life in prison. Inspired in part by the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, and the ongoing prosecutions of Washington state-based soldiers for the deaths of three Afghan civilians, they planned the attack for weeks and fantasized about the media attention they'd receive, according to a federal complaint.
The two were arrested June 22 in an FBI sting after they arrived at a warehouse garage to pick up machine guns to use in the attack, authorities said. Investigators said they learned of the plot when someone Abdul-Latif recruited to obtain weapons turned to Seattle police and then acted as a paid confidential informant as the plot developed.
Abdul-Latif's wife, Binta Moussa-Davis, sat in the courtroom Wednesday wearing a black hijab with a face veil, crying audibly as she gazed toward him. She declined to speak with reporters afterward.
Abdul-Latif's federal public defender, Jennifer Wellman, did not oppose the government's motion to detain him pending trial and acknowledged the security concerns the case poses. But she did object to the conditions under which her client has been able to speak with his lawyers at the Federal Detention Center south of Seattle — through a glass partition rather than in a private room — and said she wasn't sure how confidential those conversations were.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg said he would urge the detention center to speed up arrangements that would allow them to meet privately.
Mujahidh's attorney, Lee Covell, declined to comment after his client's hearing.
The recruiting station, the Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle, is adjacent to a daycare inside a building called Federal Center South. Recruits for all military branches are screened and processed there.
The pair initially planned an attack on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but later shifted to what they considered an easier target, the complaint said.
Abdul-Latif, 33, has a criminal record and a troubled family past, and allegations that he plotted a terrorist attack surprised those who knew him. But he appears to have posted several videos on YouTube expressing sympathy for al-Qaida's leader in Yemen and excitement about a radical interpretation of Islam.
Abdul-Latif's videos strayed on a range of topics — from U.S. politics to Muslim doctrine to the British royal wedding. He praises fighters in the videos, asking for blessings for those who struggle for the cause of Allah. And, at some points, he calls for action.
"We must establish jihad," Abdul-Latif said in a video posted in May. "I don't care what anybody says about that: You can turn me in to the FBI or whatever. We need to establish jihad with the tongue, with the heart and with the hand."
The Associated Press could not independently confirm the YouTube account was Abdul-Latif's, but the name and age posted on the account match him, and the videos appear to depict him.
The pair is charged with conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and possession of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Abdul-Latif is also charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms.