Iraqi bombing suspect on trial in Arizona
PHOENIX -- An Iraqi man charged in state court with detonating a homemade explosive device outside an Arizona Social Security building was illegally in possession of guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition he kept hidden in his attic and behind dresser drawers, a prosecutor said Wednesday during opening statements in the defendant's federal trial.
Abdullatif Ali Aldosary has pleaded not guilty to three federal counts of being a felon in possession of guns and ammunition.
``We have the defendant possessing the firearms and ammunition inside his home,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pimsner told jurors. ``Mr. Aldosary is a convicted felon.''
Aldosary's attorney told jurors to be skeptical of the government's case, and not to believe that just because the weapons and ammunition were found inside his home that he knew they were there.
``That's why it's important that you keep an open mind throughout this trial,'' lawyer Susan Anderson told jurors.
She said the ``mere presence of an item'' inside one's home is not proof of ownership.
The trial began Wednesday in Phoenix and was expected to last several days.
Separately, Aldosary faces multiple state counts, including 14 attempted first-degree murder charges, arson and use of explosives. Authorities say he detonated a homemade explosive device on Nov. 30 outside a Social Security Administration building in Casa Grande. No one was injured in the blast. Prosecutors said the attempted murder charges stem from 14 employees who were inside the building at the time of the explosion.
A trial date in that case has not yet been set.
Investigators say a search of Aldosary's home turned up documents hidden behind a picture that explained how to build a bomb. Aldosary also sought information on how to create explosive material known as RDX, ``considered one of the most powerful of the military high explosives,'' according to the initial criminal complaint. ``RDX is believed to have been used in many bomb plots, including terrorist plots.''
Police have not disclosed a motive for the bombing. Aldosary has pleaded not guilty to the state charges, as well.
The firearms charges stem from evidence collected during police searches of his home after the explosive device was detonated, though a judge ruled previously that jurors in his federal trial would not be informed of the bombing.
In yet another apparently unrelated state case, Aldosary was charged in July with murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and two firearms counts in the Nov. 27, 2012, killing of an employee at the Arizona Grain processing facility in Maricopa.
Orlando Requena, 26, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds. He had worked for several years at the facility, where Aldosary also was employed for a time.
Aldosary came to the United States legally in 1997 from his home country of Iraq.
In 2008, he pleaded guilty to felony aggravated harassment charges. He was sentenced to two months in jail and three years of probation. But his probation was revoked a year later, and he was ordered to serve a year in prison.
Aldosary had sought help from U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar's office in 2011 in obtaining permanent residency. Gosar has said he contacted Homeland Security, which responded in a letter that Aldosary's case had been put on hold ``pursuant to the terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility'' under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Authorities say he was denied a green card in 2008 because he fought with anti-government forces trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Basra, Iraq, in 1991.
Gosar's office questioned why the man hadn't been deported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Aldosary's previous arrests on harassment charges and a probation violation weren't considered deportable offenses.