By Sadef Ali Kully
The federal judge presiding over a case involving a supposed terror plot that two young Flushing men and a Staten Island man had allegedly hatched, demanded last week that federal prosecutors hand over non-classified evidence in the case within the next 60 days.
It has been several months since 20-year-old Munther Saleh from Bowne Street in Flushing; an unnamed co-conspirator, also from Flushing; and 21-year-old Fareed Mumani from Staten Island were arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS as well as with assaulting and conspiring to assault federal officers, according to federal prosecutors.
Both of the named defendants’ attorneys said it was a long and slow process to get evidence, including non-classified evidence, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. Federal prosecutors said it promised to be a long and complex case.
At a hearing in Brooklyn Nov. 19, U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie said, “Because these defendants are incarcerated, they need to prepare for their case. I need you to at least give the unclassified [evidence] as soon as possible. I would like to see the case move forward in some fashion.”
In court, Saleh looked older than his 20 years due to a longer beard, while Mumuni looked much younger and appeared to have a friendly relationship with his attorney. Anthony Ricco.
Saleh’s father, Tony Saleh, said the case had been frustrating and a long process.
According to the federal indictment, prosecutors and investigators said all three suspects expressed support for ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group. Saleh and Mumuni are alleged to have conspired to carry out an attack in the United States, including plotting the use of a pressure-cooker bomb in the metropolitan area on behalf of ISIS. On June 13, Saleh and another individual were arrested in Queens, accused of having charged at a federal officer while armed with knives. On June 17, during the execution of a search warrant, Mumuni was arrested after repeatedly stabbing an FBI agent in the torso with a knife, which did not penetrate the agent’s body armor, according to court records.
A federal investigation into Munther Saleh, an American citizen who was studying electrical circuitry at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, along with one unnamed conspirators, revealed that Saleh had been planning to attack various city landmarks on behalf of ISIS, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal prosecutors said in the criminal complaint that Saleh allegedly looked at images of city tourist attractions for targets and searched online for materials to build a bomb. He allegedly translated Islamic State propaganda into English and expressed support on Twitter for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and the shooting outside a Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas.
If convicted, Saleh faces a maximum sentence of 65 years imprisonment and Mumuni 85 years imprisonment.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull