Padilla Called 'Star Recruit'

In closing arguments in a Miami courtroom yesterday, a federal prosecutor called Jose Padilla the “star recruit” of a terrorism support cell that included his two co-defendants.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier focused on a form that Padilla filled out to attend a terrorism training camp sponsored by al-Qaida, the New York Times reports.

“You don’t mail away for it,” said Frazier. “You are already inside the al-Qaida organization when you get this form.”

Intent is a key issue in the case against Padilla and his co-defendants, the Associated Press reports. Jurors will have to decide whether Padilla was indeed a star recruit, or merely a recent convert to Islam. They will also be asked to decide whether the group intended to murder others, or simply worked together to raise funds for relief organizations.

Padilla was originally arrested on suspicion of plotting to release a “dirty bomb,” but that charge was dropped when he was turned over to civilian authorities for prosecution.

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