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Ex-USF student's attorneys ask for more time in explosives case

TAMPA — Ahmed Mohamed's attorneys said Thursday they need more time to prepare his defense on explosives charges in light of a new grand jury indictment that charged him this week with additional crimes.

Mohamed, 26, and Youssef Megahed, 22, are scheduled to stand trial together April 28 on a charge of illegally transporting explosive materials across state lines.

On Tuesday, a grand jury handed up new charges against the former University of South Florida students. The seven-count indictment supersedes one on Aug. 29, which charged Mohamed with demonstrating how to make an explosive device.

The new indictment includes charges against Mohamed for illegally possessing a destructive device, violating his student visa by possessing a firearm and supplying material support of terrorism intended to cause personal injury or death to persons outside the United States and military officials.

"This alleges that Mr. Mohamed conspired with others to maim or murder persons outside the United States. This begs the question, 'Who was Mr. Mohamed allegedly conspiring with?' " defense attorneys Linda Moreno and Lyann Goudie said in their motion for a continuance. "The questions this new superseding indictment raise need to be answered before Mr. Mohamed can effectively defend against them."

Since most of the new charges focus on Mohamed, Megahed's public defender has said he is prepared to move forward on the scheduled trial date.

Also Thursday, Megahed's attorney filed a motion asking that a recorded conversation between Megahed and Mohamed in the back of a deputy's cruiser be excluded from trial.

A transcript reveals Megahed and Mohamed talking about questions from law enforcement and what they had in the trunk.

The transcript also reveals Mohamed saying he packed the homemade fireworks to celebrate his birthday on the road trip. He said investigators appeared to get a firework to explode, something Mohamed said he had never been able to do.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Ex-USF student's attorneys ask for more time in explosives case 04/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008 12:00am]
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