Phone calls and e-mails were passed among three Ohio men accused in separate terrorism plots, according to newly released government records that also show the men took trips together and that one man used another for a job reference.
The U.S. attorney's office filed an exhibit list of 102 items in federal court ahead of the August trial of Nuradin Abdi, charged with plotting to blow up an unspecified, Columbus-area shopping mall. The alleged plot was not carried out.
The list includes references to meetings, phone calls and trips the government has previously alleged in various court filings. Put together, the exhibits provide one of the first comprehensive glimpses of the evidence federal prosecutors may present against Abdi.
Abdi, 35, a Somali immigrant, sent e-mails in 2001 and 2002 to a man later convicted of trying to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the list filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
Night vision sites in e-mail
An e-mail on July 31, 2001, from Abdi to Iyman Faris showed Web sites for night vision equipment and anti-surveillance equipment, according to the list.
E-mails on Oct. 28, 2002, from Abdi to Faris contain information on an exhortation to holy war and "Islamic extremist information," the list shows. Faris, 38, was sentenced in 2003 to 20 years in prison for the plot to topple the Brooklyn Bridge.
Some of Faris' phone bills were found in Abdi's residence during a search on Nov. 28, 2003, according to the exhibit list.
Abdi also called phone numbers for Christopher Paul, an Ohio man accused of joining al-Qaida and plotting to bomb European tourist resorts, and took a trip with him to Pittsburgh in September 2002. He also listed Paul, 43, as a personal reference on a 2001 job application.
One exhibit shows a payment of $11.25 to Caribou Cafe, a coffee shop in Upper Arlington in suburban Columbus on Aug. 6, 2002.
Plotted at coffee shop?
Prosecutors allege that Abdi first discussed the mall plot that day with Faris and Paul at the coffee shop, according to Abdi's attorney, Mahir Sherif. Faris and Paul told him the idea was stupid, Sherif said Friday.
Abdi may have been an angry man but wasn't involved in any terrorism conspiracy, Sherif said.
The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment. A message was left with the attorney representing Paul.
Investigators first learned about Abdi from Faris, who said in 2003 as part of a separate investigation that Abdi had talked about shooting up a Columbus shopping mall with an assault rifle.
In April 2003, Abdi acknowledged in interviews with the FBI that he knew Faris but denied the shopping mall charges.
The exhibit list also includes photos taken from Abdi's computer, including one titled "Bin Laden is in our hearts." Another exhibit describes a global positioning satellite watch that Abdi gave Paul, according to the list.