Terror Suspect to Get Inside Government’s Case Against Him

By Vic Walter

Jul 25, 2006 9:39am

Alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla has the unique chance to examine classified U.S. government documents firsthand. According to court papers, Padilla was granted access to evidence the government has collected in the case against him.  Along with members of his defense counsel, Padilla can now comb through classified government materials, including written reports and recordings of his statements while in custody.    As for any new evidence released by the Justice Department, the department reserves the right to "specify in writing that it has no opposition to the new material being disclosed to defendant Padilla."  If that "written specification" does not accompany the evidence, the defense can file a motion requesting the material’s disclosure. High security is to be on hand for each of the reviews.  While Padilla meets with his lawyers in an inner room within a "defense secure area," a U.S. Marshal is to stand guard "outside the room with the ability to maintain eyesight of Padilla." That Marshal is not to eavesdrop or divulge anything he overhears to members of the prosecution. Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was arrested back in 2002 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and held as an "enemy combatant" for three years.  In November of 2005, he was formally charged with conspiracy and providing material support to Islamic extremist groups around the country.  He has also been accused of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb in the U.S. Padilla, who pled not guilty, is scheduled to stand trial this September.  His chance to review classified government materials marks a rare opportunity for suspected terrorists.  More often, only their defense counsel are granted access to the government’s evidence in the case. Read the court order authorizing the disclosure of classified materials to Padilla.

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