BOSTON – Lawyers for a man charged with trying to blow up an airliner with explosives in his shoes said Wednesday they would contest documents alleging he scouted for terror targets in Egypt and Israel last summer.
Richard Reid's lawyers said the prosecution plans to introduce the documents at his trial. Attorney Owen Walker asked the judge to delay the Nov. 4 start date for the trial so he could have more time to analyze the documents.
Neither Walker nor prosecutors would comment on the evidence outside of court.
Reid, 29, a British citizen and convert to Islam, is charged with attempting to detonate the explosives aboard an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22. Crew members and passengers subdued Reid, and the flight was diverted to Boston.
When Reid was indicted in January, prosecutors said he was trained in Afghanistan by the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
During the court conference Wednesday, Walker said prosecutors will seek to introduce evidence that Reid "went on an exploratory mission to Israel and Egypt on behalf of individuals in Afghanistan to check sites for possible terrorist activities."
Walker said the evidence was found on the hard drive of a computer in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors have not submitted a formal request to introduce the evidence at trial, but Walker indicated the prosecutors intended to do so.
U.S. District Judge William Young said he does not want to delay the trial but he did not immediately rule on the request.
In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Reid's travels in 2001 matched those of an Al Qaeda operative known as Abdul Ra'uff, who scouted locations for attacks in Israel and Egypt.
The similar travel has led investigators to suspect the two men are actually the same person, the newspaper reported, saying the information was obtained from a computer in Afghanistan.
Neither defense attorneys nor prosecutors would confirm whether the documents discussed in court were the same as the documents cited in the Journal.