April 25, 2006

Mistrial declared in Calif. terrorism case

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A U.S. District Court
judge declared a mistrial on Tuesday in the trial of a
Pakistani-American man charged with lying to federal
investigators during a terrorism probe.

Judge Garland Burrell Jr. released jurors who had
deadlocked in the case of 48-year-old Umer Hayat, a Lodi,
California man. Prosecutors had charged him with lying during a
probe into whether he and his son Hamid Hayat, 23, had links to
terrorism training camps in Pakistan.

"Each juror felt they had gone as far as they could go and
no one was going to change their minds," said Carol Davis, a
spokeswoman for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of California in Sacramento.

Jurors continue to deliberate over charges facing Hamid
Hayat. Federal prosecutors have charged him with lying to
investigators and providing material support to terrorists.

The father and son initially told investigators that they
had no knowledge of the camps. But later in videotaped
confessions the elder Hayat said he visited several camps as an
observer, including a camp where his son had said he had

Defense attorneys said the two told investigators what they
wanted to hear.

"He's not a terrorist. There is no evidence he is a
terrorist," said Johnny Griffin III, Umer Hayat's defense
lawyer. "Hopefully the government will not retry this case."

Prosecutors were not immediately available to comment on if
they would revive their case against Umer Hayat.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Hayat and his
father, an ice cream truck driver, in June 2005. The FBI's
probe was aided by an informant in the Muslim community of
Lodi, a farm town south of Sacramento, the state capital.

(Reporting by Michael Fitzgerald in Sacramento, California)