updated 9/8/2006 6:00:50 PM ET 2006-09-08T22:00:50

A federal judge rejected an attempt by terror suspect Jose Padilla to keep a jury from hearing statements he made to the FBI shortly before his 2002 arrest.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Brown also denied an effort to suppress evidence based on allegations that one U.S. informant may have been tortured.

The rulings against the man accused of being an al-Qaida operative marked a victory for federal prosecutors, who last month suffered a setback when another judge threw out one of the main terror charges against Padilla and his co-defendants.

Brown found that Padilla, 35, had not been placed immediately under arrest by the FBI when he arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in May 2002.

Since he was not in official custody, Brown said the agents were not required to read him his Miranda constitutional rights before interrogating him on issues including his travels in the Middle East, $10,000 he was carrying and his conversion to Islam.

“Defendant was not restrained at any time, by handcuffs or otherwise. Every effort was made for defendant to be made comfortable, in a non-threatening setting,” Brown said in his ruling, released Friday. “He was never told that he was not free to go.”

Brown also denied Padilla’s motion to suppress evidence including the cash, a cell phone and an address book seized at the airport, rejecting arguments that the material witness warrant eventually used to arrest him was based on statements from one source who claims he was tortured and another who was heavily medicated.

Padilla’s attorneys identified one of the sources as Abu Zubayda, a top al-Qaida leader recently transferred from a secret CIA prison overseas to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The other source was named as Binyam Ahmed Muhammad, who is also at Guantanamo and claims he was tortured after his arrest in Pakistan in April 2002.

Brown ruled that there was insufficient proof that those two were the actual informants in the Padilla case and even if they were, information used to arrest Padilla was corroborated by other sources. There was also no evidence that the FBI acted “recklessly” in writing a factual statement used to obtain the Padilla arrest warrant from a judge.

Both of Brown’s rulings are subject to review by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who is overseeing the case. Trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Federal officials initially accused Padilla, a U.S. citizen, of plotting to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” in a major U.S. city. President Bush designated him an enemy combatant a month after his airport arrest, and Padilla was held without charge by the military for 3½ years until he was added as a defendant late last year in an existing terror-support case.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments