Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge calls deportation action against former USF student 'a very close case'

MIAMI — Youssef Megahed will learn Friday whether the government has presented enough evidence for an immigration judge to consider deporting him because he has terrorist ties.

"It's a very close case," Immigration Judge Kenneth S. Hurewitz said Thursday.

Hurewitz planned to spend the evening reviewing documents and testimony presented at a deportation hearing in Miami-Dade County this week. His focus: government evidence that Megahed provided material support to terrorists, a charge that got former co-defendant Ahmed Mohamed a 15-year prison sentence.

The judge plans to rule this morning on a defense motion to terminate the deportation proceedings against Megahed, a former University of South Florida student.

Even if Hurewitz dismisses the charges, it's unlikely Megahed would immediately gain freedom. Homeland Security Department attorneys have indicated they will appeal an unfavorable ruling. No matter what Hurewitz decides Friday, a final ruling on deportation could still be weeks away.

"I started out my case by calling the government's evidence garbage," said Charles Kuck, Megahed's defense attorney. "You know what we've heard for the last four days? Garbage."

If Hurewitz decides the deportation proceedings should move forward, Kuck said he may or may not present any witnesses.

"If I heard your testimony, it may sway me in either way," the judge told Kuck.

Homeland Security Department attorneys have spent the week trying to prove that Megahed has or is likely to engage in terrorist activity.

Saying he planned to focus solely on the accusation that Megahed gave material support to terrorists, the judge said the government hadn't proved its case and that Megahed had "clearly not" committed those offenses.

But Megahed was associated with a known terrorist, the judge noted, referring to Mohamed.

Homeland Security presented evidence about Mohamed's activities and linked him to Megahed throughout the week, despite Kuck's continued objections.

Government attorney Loren Coy said Megahed had to have known that Mohamed posted a YouTube video showing how to turn a child's toy into a remote-control detonator. Mohamed said he intended the video to be used by enemies of the United States.

Coy also pointed to the PVC pipes filled with a potassium nitrate mixture found in the trunk when Megahed and Mohamed were stopped for speeding in Goose Creek, S.C., on Aug. 4, 2007. Coy said the mixture was the same propellant used in Qassam rockets launched against Israel and U.S. forces.

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

Judge calls deportation action against former USF student 'a very close case' 08/20/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  5. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.