A lawyer for one of four American men on trial for attempting to join the Islamic State is attempting to stop prosecutors from introducing evidence that at least one of them, Guled Ali Omar, 21, wanted to open up routes for jihadis from Syria to infiltrate the U.S. through Mexico.
The routes would then be used to carry out terrorist attacks in America.
Three other men are are trial with Omar: Hamza Naj Ahmed, 21; Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 22; and Abdirahman Yasin Daud, 22. They are all from the Somali community in Minnesota.
Defense lawyers for Daud claimed that without any specific evidence that their client threatened the U.S., any references during the trial to such attacks would prejudice the jury.
However, prosecutors said that they were in possession of audio tapes in which Omar discussed many times the possibility of attack in the U.S. Another defendant, Abdihamid Farah, 22, discussed murdering an FBI agent.
Prosecutors also said that images from the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center as well as that of Osama bin Laden were also found on Omar’s phone. Daud’s lawyer is also trying to prevent that evidence from being shown to the jury.
The four men were charged with multiples crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S. Five other men from the Somali community recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to support a foreign terrorist organization. A tenth man was charged but is believed to be in Syria.
In recent years, some 12 men have left Minnesota to join the fighting in Syria, according to the FBI. In addition, since 2007, 22 men left to join Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group in Somalia.