TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors opposing the release of a man accused of helping raise money for an al-Qaida leader say the bulk of the cash was delivered just months before the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner.
There was no way to determine whether the $22,000 handed off to an associate of Anwar al-Awlaki was used to carry out the attempted bombing, attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department said in court documents.
But it’s reasonable to conclude the money was used by Awlaki to train terrorists, including Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a plane, the government said.
Two sets of brothers with Ohio ties were charged last fall with raising $29,000 for Awlaki, considered an inspirational leader of al-Qaida before he was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Attorneys for all four have denied the charges.
One of them, Ibrahim Mohammad, asked a federal judge Tuesday in Toledo to be put on home detention in northern Ohio before going to trial.
His attorney said Mohammad isn’t a danger to the community or a flight risk because he has few contacts overseas. Mohammad is a permanent U.S. resident and has lived in the country since 2001 with no criminal record, attorney David Klucas said.
He proposed that Mohammad be placed on electronic monitoring while he lives with his wife, their four children and his father-in-law in Toledo, where Mohammad worked as an engineer until recently.
Klucas said prosecutors were “making wild leaps” by trying to connect Mohammad to the former al-Qaida leader.
Government prosecutors want Mohammad to remain in jail, saying on Tuesday that he lied to investigators and has few ties to the Toledo area where he would be staying. They also noted he had not put up any of his own money toward bond.
The judge said he’ll rule later this week on allowing home detention.
One of the other four men charged already is out on bond while another was denied a release in January.
Court documents filed by the government said they used fake credit card transactions to get the money and took steps to hide transfers of the funds.
The amount raised, the government said, were enough to fund several attacks.
“In the hands of a terrorist such as Awlaki, very little money is needed to cause death and destruction,” prosecutors said in opposing Mohammad’s release.
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