CHICAGO (AP) — Edward Snowden’s name loomed over a Chicago teenager’s terrorism case as a judge said Tuesday she must delay the trial to grapple with unresolved issues raised by the one-time government contractor’s leaks.
The U.S. judge scratched Adel Daoud’s Feb. 3 trial date, citing pending defense requests for details on the role expanded U.S. surveillance programs — revealed by Snowden — may have played in the Chicago case.
A former National Security Agency contractor, Snowden sparked intense national debate after he disclosed documents illustrating the broadened scope of U.S. phone and Internet surveillance.
During a status hearing, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said she needs time to rule on the complex defense motions seeking government surveillance records. She said that means Daoud’s trial cannot start earlier than April.
Daoud, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, has pleaded not guilty to attempting to set off what he thought was a car bomb outside a Chicago bar last year. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
At Tuesday’s hearing in Chicago, defense lawyer Thomas Durkin used Snowden’s name several times, referring to one defense motion that asked for surveillance details as the “Snowden … matter.”
“I don’t know if I’d call it the Snowden motion,” government attorney Barry Jonas responded.
In a filing this month, prosecutors said they won’t use evidence directly derived from expanded surveillance at Daoud’s trial and therefore aren’t required to produce any of the detail the defense requests.
But Daoud’s lawyers say prosecutors should disclose how the surveillance might have triggered the initial investigation, saying that could provide grounds for challenging the constitutionality of subsequent evidence.
Coleman’s eventual ruling about what, if anything, the government must divulge would be among the first such rulings since Snowden’s revelations. The Justice Department has since charged Snowden with espionage.
Also Tuesday, Durkin told the court he sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee asking it to turn over surveillance documents on his client. If they refuse, Durkin said he would follow up with subpoenas.
The letter cites a Dec. 27, 2012, public hearing where committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein discusses how she reviewed key intelligence documents. Minutes later, the California Democrat mentions Daoud as an example of how extended surveillance stops would-be terrorists.
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