SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A young man charged with lying about attending an Al Qaeda-linked (search) terrorist camp was carrying an Arabic prayer in his wallet that federal prosecutors say is significant to their case.
Hamid Hayat (search), 22, and his father, Umer, 47, are charged with lying to federal investigators about the young man's time at the camp in 2003 and 2004 as part of an investigation in Lodi that also has resulted in the detention on immigration charges of two Muslim religious leaders and one leader's son.
"Lord let us be at their throats, and we ask you to give us refuge from their evil," read the prayer on a slip of paper, prosecutors said in court documents filed late Wednesday.
They said the paper is "relevant to the question of whether Hamid Hayat falsely denied that he had attended a terrorist camp. It corroborates defendant Hamid Hayat's videotaped admission that he, in fact, had attended such a camp."
They did not explain the alleged connection.
Wazhma Mojaddidi, Hamid Hayat's attorney, said it is a common Islamic prayer.
A spokeswoman for prosecutors, Mary Wenger, said Thursday that "the paper with the prayer is evidence that further supports the charges, and because it is evidence they cannot comment further on it."
The government included the detail in a motion filed as prosecutors sought to delay the Aug. 23 trial date set last week by Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.
That trial date is unrealistic, prosecutors said, because of the vast amount of potential evidence that must be reviewed.
Among the items seized from the Hayats' home in Lodi are about 400 video or audio cassettes and compact discs, prosecutors said, of which an initial review shows there are "three pertinent VHS tapes," prosecutors said.
Umer Hayat's attorney, Johnny Griffin III, said he needed to read the government's filing in detail before responding, but reiterated his view that prosecutors should have built their case against the two men before they were charged and held without bond last month.
Federal law requires defendants be tried within 70 days unless there are extraordinary circumstances such as prosecutors allege in this case.