April 25, 2006

Son found guilty in Calif. terrorism case

By Michael Fitzgerald

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - Hamid Hayat, a
23-year-old Pakistani-American man, was found guilty on Tuesday
of providing material support to terrorists and lying to
investigators probing his alleged links to terrorist training

The verdict by a California jury came hours after a U.S.
District Court judge declared a mistrial in the case of Hayat's
father, Umer Hayat, who had been charged with lying to federal
investigators during the same terrorism probe.

Earlier on Tuesday, Judge Garland Burrell Jr. released
jurors who had deadlocked in the case of the 48-year-old
father. Prosecutors had charged him with lying during a probe
into whether he and his son Hamid, both of Lodi, California,
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.

Umer and Hamid Hayat initially told investigators they had
no knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan. 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 trained.

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

The elder Hayat felt pressured into making a confession,
defense lawyer Johnny Griffin III said. "He knew his son was
being held and he believed they would let him and his son go if
he cooperated," Griffin told Reuters.

"He's not a terrorist. There is no evidence he is a
terrorist," Griffin said. "Hopefully the government will not
retry this case."

U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said in a statement that the
government is weighing its options: "Between now and the status
conference the court set for May 5, the United States will
evaluate its case against Umer Hayat and determine what course
of action to pursue."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Hayat, an ice
cream truck driver, and his son 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.