Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Defense says feds go too far to conceal witness in Tampa terror trial

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TAMPA — An attorney for the Pinellas Park man accused of trying to obtain explosives to attack targets in Tampa is objecting to one of the provisions that the government wants to publicly conceal the identity of a key witness.

Sami Osmakac, 26, is scheduled for trial Oct. 21 in federal court, accused of trying to acquire guns and bombs to attack a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office operations center and a South Tampa nightclub. He is being held in jail without bail.

Last month, prosecutors proposed a series of steps to conceal the identity of an FBI agent they say met undercover with Osmakac in 2011 and 2012. Prosecutors say his safety could be in danger if his identity is revealed.

In a motion last week, the defense objected to one of the provisions: removing non-essential personnel while the agent testifies.

"Clearing the courtroom would indicate that the (agent) is a special witness, requiring special treatment, and thereby giving him special credibility," wrote defense attorney George Tragos.

At a minimum, he said, Osmakac's family should be allowed to stay in the courtroom.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.

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