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In Taliban Support Trial of Hossain Juror's Co-Worker Texted "Guy's Obviously Guilty" So May Be Removed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song I, II, III Pod Vlog

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 30– Delowar Mohammed Hossain is on trial for attempted material support to the Taliban. The trial began on September 29, weeks after the Taliban again took over Kabul in Afghanistan. From the July 2019 Complaint:

HOSSAIN: "Pakistan is a country that support jihad... Pakistan has a good relationship with the Taliban of Afghanistan. If we look over there once we go there..."

  Then Hossain was arrested at JFK airport. He has been out on home detention and on the eve of trial asked to delay it based on racial disparities in the jury, because inactive voters were removed from the jury pool. Inner City Press will be reporting on the trial. On September 29  it began, not without difficulty, with the opening statements, live tweeting them here (podcast here, vlog I)

   On September 30, Inner City Press was told it could not be in the courtroom to see Cooperating Witness Number 1, but could listen in an overflow room two floors above.

 With the witness still on direct examination, it emerged that Juror Number 1 texted a co-worked what courthouse he was in ("Thurgood Marshall by the Brooklyn Bridge") and got a reply, "Guy's obviously guilty." An inquiry ensured - the juror declined to block his co-worker's number - and Judge Sidney H. Stein said he will decided October 1. Inner City Press live tweeted it here, & vlog 2
and podcast here

Q: When Mohammed [Hossain] said "shahid" what did he mean? Cooperating witness: That he would kill people and be killed himself.

Now an audio recording being paid, with reference to Gov Exhibit 203T. Where are the exhibits? USAfx?

AUSA: Mr "Sahill," what was your understanding of why Mohammed asked you what you would do with your store? Suhail: We were going on a Jihadi mission and might not come back. AUSA: After the meeting, who did you give the recording to? Suhail: FBI.

 AUSA: Did Mohammed mention -- FD: Objection. AUSA: Al Alaki? Suhail: Correct. He was with Al Qaeda, terrorist organization. [More audio being played. Here in overflow room Inner City Press was directed too, only an SDNY seal on the monitor. Can't see any speakers

Suhail: He wanted to engage in act of terror. Federal Defense: Objection! AUSA: I'm just asking about Mr. Sahail's understanding.

Judge Stein: Mr Sahail, to you're knowledge why did Mr Hossain want to find the people who were sending bombs through the mail? Suhail: He liked the method. To attack and kill. AUSA: What did he tell you about how he planned to join Taliban, from Pakistan?

Suhail: We should go to Pakistan, it's easy to connect to Taliban there. AUSA: Now Gov Exh 205-T. Judge Stein: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the transcript is not in evidence.

AUSA: Mr Suhail, when Mohammed referred to a Sheikh, what did he mean? Suhail: A man connected to the Taliban. AUSA: What did "this stuff" mean? Suhail: Our cause, the mission against the American military. AUSA: Did he mention Zeid Hamed? Suhail: Yes, a sheikh

Suhail: He tries to contact Zeid Hamed on Facebook but didn't get a response. Zeid Hamed was with the Pakistan military but connected with the Taliban and could facilitate our joining them.  AUSA: Mr. Citco, please Gov Exh 250. [Music, as if with a zither.]

 Now US is showing - but not in overflow room - a video of Lydig Avenue and White Plains Road in The Bronx on Feb 22, 2019 from 2:47 to 2:51 pm. There is no sound. So, from here, no information. AUSA: How did you see? Suhail: Mohammed and Abdulla

 Suhail: Abdulla was going to join us for jihad. He was a zealous and strict your man. [This is through an interpreter] He was also called James.

AUSA: Why 2 names? Suhail: When he embraced Islam. [Where is James from? Where are the exhibits?]

 AUSA: What significant in Islam do the names Hamza, Omar, Abdulla and Ali have? FD: Objection. Relevance. Judge Stein: I'll allow it. Suhail: These were companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him. AUSA: Who said, Brother where are you? Suhail: Mohammed.

AUSA: Did he speak about others beyond Abdulla? Suhail: Yes. "A Black man who was supposed to go with us." AUSA: Gov Exh 1016. Mr Suhail, seeing that [we can't], do you recognize it? Suhail: Yes, in Facetime

AUSA: Who do you see in the video? Suhail: Mohammed, Abdulla and "the Black man who was supposed to go with us.... the Brother could support us financially, to get to Taliban.

Federal Defender: We need a sidebar. [So now, can neither see nor hear. Inner City Press is the only one in the overflow room, with a Court Security Officer.]

Judge Stein: We are near the break [4:30 today]. Please wrap up. AUSA: What did Mohammed mean by "The other side." Suhail: Afghanistan. Judge Stein: You are excused. [He will be leaving the courtroom 2 floors down. But Inner City Press is voluntarily staying on 5]

Judge Stein: Juror, keep an open mind and don't go on the Internet. Sir, what do you have to tell the court.

Juror: I got a text. "If I start feeding you info about the case, I assume you'll have to recuse yourself. Guy's obviously guilty." I didn't respond.

 Juror: I told my friend the name of the courthouse. Judge Stein: Why did you tell him? How? Juror: By text. "Thurgood Marshall, by the Brooklyn Bridge." It's mixed in. Nothing more about the case. Judge Stein: You shouldn't have said anything. Are you influenced? Juror: No, I'm annoyed. But impartial. Judge Stein: Did you tell any other jurors?

Juror: No. Only your deputy. Judge Stein: Will you block his calls? I know how to do it. Juror: That would make it difficult professionally, I work closely with the person.

 Judge Stein: If he contact you again, you must tell my Deputy. Juror 1, step outside and wait. FD Gallicchio: I have to speak to our client if we will seek to replace him. What is the relationship? Judge Stein: Co-workers.

AUSA: We'd also like to discuss. But if he's instructed to not tell other tonight, we can think about it.

 Judge Stein: I think I've reached a conclusion but I'll hear from the parties in the morning.

On September 29 the prosecutor's opening argument started at 3:59 pm.

Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Schrier: Mr. Hossein went to JFK airport on July 26, 2019 to fly and kill Americans. His first idea was to attack a recruiting station here in NYC with a machine gun. But he realized it would kill only 1 or 2 Americans. That wasn't enough for him.

 AUSA: So he wanted to join the Taliban, who killed 1000s of Americans. The defendant ordered supplies and tried to recruit other. He bought a ticket to Thailand. But he made a mistake. A recruit was a Confidential Source working for the FBI

AUSA: So he wanted to join the Taliban, who killed 1000s of Americans. The defendant ordered supplies and tried to recruit other. He bought a ticket to Thailand. But he made a mistake. A recruit was a Confidential Source working for the FBI

AUSA: The evidence will show his plot. He listened to lectures by Al Qaeda. He chose a recruiting station in The Bronx. But he knew he'd get arrested. So he shifted focus to joining Taliban.

AUSA: He flirted online with girls in Thailand. He was arrested steps away from the plane. With $10,000 on his and the women he'd groomed ready to help him. He had a mission to kill Americans.

AUSA: You'll hear audio of him laughing about the Taliban killing Americans. He said, no one suspects terrorism in Thailand. You'll see his texts, the links to fundamentalist videos. You'll see what he looked like before.

AUSA: Pay attention, follow Judge Stein's instructions and use your common sense. If you do, you will find the defendant guilty. Thank you.

Federal Defender Andrew Dalack: Dolowar Hossain is a big talker, not a terrorist. He is a Muslim man with a big imagination.FD: It's just sound and fury. It comes down to his intent. He was flying to Thailand. Consider what he did, not what he said. Consider what the paid FBI informants did. They were each paid $30,000 to steer Delowar.

 FD: He talked about Islam and jihad. You will find this difficult to hear. But he had no real intent to harm anyone. No military training. He contacted real women in Thailand, and Bangladesh. Consider his luggage - there was perfume and lotion and designer jeans

Federal Defender: Delowar has Abercrombie and Fitch. He was a wannabe playboy who wanted to meet up with random women in Thailand and Bangladesh. He may be a cynical and hypocritical Muslim. But he's not a terrorist. He worked long hours as an Uber driver

 FD: He was a gentle people person who loved to talk about Islam. He wore a tunic and grew out his beard. He met Suhail, the paid informant, while attending a humble mosque in The Bronx. The informant was looking for someone else.

 FD: The informant only started recording Delowar in September 2018, when he started getting paid. By the winter, things had stalled. The FBI was getting impatient. They brought in a 2d informant, Abu Bakr.

 FD: The informants ran errands for Delowar, who began reaching out to women overseas. He purchased a visa to Bangladesh - to see woman. He asked the informant to help him buy condoms and lubricant. Hardly the ingredients of jihad.

FD: At the end you must find Delowar not guilty. Judge Stein: You've heard the opening statements. US, call your 1st witness.

AUSA Jessica Fender: Special Agent with the Joint Terrorist Task Force.

  He says they wait to arrest Hossain on the jet way, to show his intent.

FD Amy Gallicchio: Objection. Move to strike.

Judge Stein: I'll allow it.

  The trial will continue. In the run-up, there have been changes including the return to power in Afghanistan of the Taliban. On September 19, the US Attorney's Office wrote to Judge Stein that it had now been unable to reach a stipulation with the defense about the Taliban's status as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Is it any surprise?

Song I, II, III (here:

 On September 21, as the Taliban belatedly asked for UN credentials, Inner City Press went to cover Judge Stein's in-person conference on the motions in limine. Judge Stein said that the government's Taliban expert could testify, without any Daubert hearing before it. He said questions could be raised on cross examination, or in voir dire of the witness.

   Hossain's Federal Defender said he wants to see the receipts of payments to confidential sources, particularly one listed as having committed an "unauthorized illegal action," the assault of a bodega owner. Did the source pay his taxes?

  Back on July 20, Judge Stein respecting the practice of religion granted Hossain a modification of bail conditions, to leave his home at 4 am to attend a religious ritual at a butcher shop "to celebrate Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday that commemorates Abraham's near sacrifice of one of his sons at God's behest." Photo here.

  The case is US v. Hossain, 19-cr-606 (Stein)



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