An attorney for Youssef Megahed says the FBI went too far when it blew up a van to demonstrate to jurors how a homemade detonator in a video created by another defendant could set off explosives.
The attorney wants the video of the blast excluded from the former University of South Florida student's upcoming trial.
Defense attorney Dionja Dyer filed a motion in federal court Wednesday asking a judge to bar the FBI video, which she labeled "irrelevant" and "Hollywood-esque."
The demonstration video, produced at an FBI lab on July 15, shows agents using a model rocket igniter similar to one seen in a YouTube video created by Ahmed Mohamed, the motion said. Federal agents used what appeared to be a C4 mixture placed inside a van to show the destruction that can occur once the explosive is ignited, Dyer said.
"The 'special effects' utilized in the video improperly emphasize the degree of destruction that may be created with additional items not possessed by either Mr. Megahed or Mr. Mohamed at any time," Dyer said in the motion.
"The video attempts to evoke improper emotional reaction in the jury through similar 'special effects,' that words cannot adequately express, but which can only be understood through actually viewing the video," she continued.
Neither Megahed nor Mohamed had C4, or intended to blow up a van, she said.
"Despite this, if the jury views the video created by the government depicting a van being blown up, the suggestion would be that Mr. Megahed intended to commit a similar act of violence or destruction," Dyer wrote. "Such a suggestion is not warranted by the evidence or permissible by law."
Prosecutors say that in July, 2007, Mohamed posted a video on YouTube that explained how to transform a toy remote controlled car into a detonator.
The 12-minute video is narrated by a man speaking Arabic with an Egyptian accent. It shows no face, only hands. The video's narrator says it's meant "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another day in battle."
Megahed, 22, and Mohamed, 27, have been in custody since Aug. 4, 2007, when a South Carolina deputy stopped them for speeding and authorities found what experts described as materials for low-grade explosives in their trunk.
Megahed's trial has been delayed, pending the prosecution's appeal of a judge's decision to toss out certain evidence against him. He is charged with illegally transporting explosive materials and a destructive device.
Mohamed pleaded guilty in June to providing material support to terrorists. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7.