A jury must decide whether a man facing federal terrorism charges attended an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan and then lied about it.
Hamid Hayat “had a jihadi heart and a jihadi mind” long before he confessed to attending the al-Qaida camp, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Tice-Raskin said Wednesday before the case went to jurors.
In closing arguments, Tice-Raskin countered testimony that FBI agents and a government informant may have tricked the 23-year-old Hayat into making incriminating statements.
Hayat and his father, both of Lodi, are on trial in U.S. District Court on charges of lying about the son’s suspected attendance at the terror training camp in 2003.
Hamid Hayat is charged with providing material support to terrorists by attending the camp and three counts of lying about it to the FBI. If convicted, he faces up to 39 years in prison.
Umer Hayat, a 48-year-old ice cream truck driver, is charged with lying to the FBI and faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted. Closing arguments in his portion of the trial are set for Thursday.
Informant key to prosecution
The prosecutor argued that Hamid Hayat freely revealed his intentions to the informant, who was recruited by the FBI shortly after the September 2001 terror attacks and arrived in Lodi later that year.
The informant befriended the Hayat family and secretly recorded hundreds of hours of conversations, evidence that became key to the government’s case.
Hamid Hayat “repeatedly professed support for violent jihad,” Tice-Raskin told jurors. Jihad is the Arabic term for holy war.
Hamid Hayat “had a jihadi heart and he had a jihadi mind,” Tice-Raskin said.
Hamid Hayat’s attorney argued the government has no proof her client ever went to such a camp.
The case against the father and son followed a government investigation into whether Lodi-area businesses were sending money to terrorist groups abroad.