Padilla Prosecution to Rest
Posted Jul 13, 2007 9:55 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Prosecutors are expected to rest their case today against Jose Padilla and two co-defendants accused of aiding terrorist groups.
Their biggest challenge is proving the most serious charge—that the defendants conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people abroad, the Miami Herald reports.
Prosecutors introduced an application to an al-Qaida training camp that bore seven fingerprints that a Secret Service expert said matched Padilla’s. They also played wiretapped phone calls in which the defendants were said to be speaking in code about terrorist activities overseas.
Defense lawyers contend the men were raising money to help persecuted Muslims rather than to wage a terrorist war. They are likely to claim that wiretapped discussions about “fresh air” and “an open door" were literal rather than code.
Law professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond told the New York Times that the government had not put on a particularly strong case, although a jury might feel otherwise.
Padilla had originally been accused of plotting to release a “dirty bomb” and held as an enemy combatant. That charge was dropped when he was moved to civilian custody.