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In Taliban Support Trial of Hossain Cooperator Says FBI Told Him To Use Only His Work Phone As Juror 1 Stays

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 1 – 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.

 This continued on October 1, concluding in this, live tweeted here:

Federal Defender Dalack: This is a message from Delowar [Hossain] to me, on the day he met you in the mosque in The Bronx? Long interpretation. FD asks to show it to jurors. Suhair: This is the 2nd mosque. FD Dalack: Let me take a step back. Based on your direct

 AUSA: Objection. Misstates the testimony. Judge Stein: What day was it? Was it the first day you met the defendant? April 20, 2018? Suhail: I believe it was a different day. FD Dalack: You went to the mosque looking for someone at the request of the FBI, correct?

 Suhail: Yes. FD Dalack: And that the first time you met Delowar, correct? Suhail: We met at the first mosque. Then he sent me the address of the 2d mosque. FD Dalack: He texted you, correct? Suhail: No.

 [It's like, Who's on the first mosque?] Judge Stein: Approximately how many days between when you met him and Gov Ex 505 on the screen? Suhail: Perhaps uh, two weeks, three weeks, a little more or less.  Suhail: Three week or more. Maybe less. FD Dalack: The Arabic there says El Yom, which means today, right? Judge Stein: It says today? AUSA: Mr Dalack can't translate Arabic for us. Judge Stein: Just circle the areas. 

Suhail: It is possible I took a snap shot of this message to send it over to the FBI, like they asked. FD Dalack: Do you know how iMessage works? Suhali: What's iMessage? FD Dalack: It's the application we're looking at. AUSA: Objection.

FD Dalack: So this invites you to the mosque on Ward Avenue in The Bronx, right? AUSA: Objection. Judge Stein: I'll allow it. Interpreter: Could the court reporter read the question back? FD Dalack: Look at what I've circled

FD Dalack: Wasn't this the time of Friday prayers? Suhail: Could be. FD: What number did you text from? Suhail: Later on the provided me another phone, just to text with him. Not use personal phone. Use work phone, they tell me. FD: 9916 was your personal phone

 Judge Stein: Look away from the document. Is your recollection refreshed? Suhial: No. FD Dalack: OK. Judge Stein: Take the exhibit down.

FD Dalack: He wanted you to wake him from a nap when you got to the mosque? AUSA: Objection. Judge Stein: How much longer? FD: Several hours.

FD Dalack: You goal was to find him when you got the mosque, right, and wake him? Suhail: Yes. FD Dallack: You told the FBI about it? Suhail: Yes. FD: But they didn't pay you? Suhail: Not for this.

 FD: You called Delowar on May 17, 2018, right? Suhail: Maybe. FD: You wanted info for the FBI? [It's 5:03]

Day 3 vlog here

 On September 30 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. [Juror 1 was allowed to stay on.] Inner City Press live tweeted it here, & vlog 2
and podcast here

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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