Judge Issues Gag Order in Little Rock Recruiter Shooting Case

Prosecutor says public comment could adversely impact the right to a fair trial.

ByPierre Thomas and Jack Date
June 08, 2009, 8:08 PM

Washington, June 8, 2009 -- A gag order has been issued in the case against Abdulhakim Muhammad, the man accused shooting two U.S. Army soldiers, killing one, in front of a recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark., last week.

District Court Judge Alice Lightle ordered "all parties, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and their personnel… to refrain from public comment," in matters relating to this case.

Prosecutor Larry Jegley filed a motion for the gag order early Monday morning. The motion states that many "statements have been made in recent days, some attributed and some not." Such statements, the motion says, "could adversely impact" the defendant's right to a fair trial.

Muhammad's defense attorney Jim Hensley has done a number of interviews with media outlets including ABC News, ABC Little Rock affiliate KATV and the Associated Press.

In an interview, Friday with ABC News Sr. Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas, Hensley said the FBI had interviewed Muhammad twice prior to the shooting last week. Hensley said the FBI was rude and threatening to his client and that, "the FBI and the government would haunt him to the ends of the world."

An FBI spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Hensley also said his client would like to make a public statement about "his motivation to what led him to be incarcerated. "

Muhammad, a U.S. citizen, had been under a preliminary investigation after he was detained in Yemen for overstaying his visa there, both Hensley and an embassy spokesman for the Republic of Yemen acknowledged.

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