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Assault charges likely in Florida terror case

Source : AP
Last Updated: Fri, May 09, 2014 18:00 hrs

New charges are likely for two Pakistani-born brothers charged with plotting to detonate bombs at New York City landmarks after they were accused of assaulting two deputy U.S. marshals, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

The latest accusations will also delay the trial of Sheheryar and Raess Alam Qazi beyond its previously scheduled November date and forced Sheheryar Qazi's attorney to withdraw because he saw the marshals incident.

A grand jury is hearing evidence about the attack, and a new indictment will be sought in the coming weeks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said at a hearing Friday. It is a federal crime to assault a U.S. marshal.

"It will include additional charges as a result of the incident on April 8," Gilbert told U.S. District Judge Robert Scola.

The brothers, who lived in Broward County, have pleaded not guilty to several terrorism-related charges stemming from the purported New York bomb plot. Prosecutors have previously said the brothers sought to avenge deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

According to the FBI, Raess Qazi traveled to New York in late 2012 to scout targets and find a job to finance the plot. He was unsuccessful, however, and later returned to Florida. The FBI has dozens of recordings prosecutors say implicate both brothers in the conspiracy, and investigators say bomb-making materials were found at the family's home.

Authorities say the attack on the marshals occurred at a secure location where the Qazi brothers and their attorneys are allowed to examine classified evidence. Scola obtained assurances from the marshals that security would be beefed up at that location and in his courtroom — where more than a dozen marshals were present Friday.

No details about what happened or whether either marshal was hurt have been released. Officials have said there was no chance the two men could have escaped.

Also Friday, Scola appointed a new defense attorney for Sheheryar Qazi. His previous one, Ronald Chapman, has a conflict because he is being called as a grand jury witness by prosecutors. The new defense attorney is Bill Barzee, who must now obtain the security clearances needed to handle classified evidence.

"It seems like the November trial date is not realistic anymore," Scola said. A new date will be set in the future.

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Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt



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