A 25-year-old resident of Mobile, Alabama says he was not trying to plot with terrorists overseas when he bought a plane ticket for him and his family to visit Morocco.
Randy Lamar “Rasheed” Wilson was denied bail over the weekend, and on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges of providing support to international terrorists.
Federal investigators say Wilson, who grew up in the United States, intended on meeting up with fellow Muslims in Morocco in order to plot an act of terror against the United States. His attorneys are adamant about having the charges dropped, however, since they say they are based off of testimonies provided to undercover informants and contain no proof that Wilson intended on committing an act of terror. For the meantime, though, it is likely to be an uphill battle since the government is opposed to unsealing their alleged evidence against Wilson, claiming doing such would endanger national security.
"We are going to fight this all the way," lawyer Domingo Soto told the Associated Press. "We are going to fight the detention, the indictment and the protective order."
In response to his plea, US Magistrate Judge Katherine Nelson has set a tentative trial date of March 3, but cautions that it could be a long ordeal given the unusual circumstances of the case.
"This is obviously the first one of these cases I've handled and maybe the first we've had here in this district," Nelson on Wednesday.
The government says Wilson has ties to Omar Hammami, who also at one point resided near Mobile, but later moved to Somalia to join forces with alleged terrorists al-Shabab.
In Mobile on Wednesday, Wilson’s attorney said his client only wanted to take his family to Morocco so that they could study Muslim in a country where Islam is the dominant religion.
"There is a question here about whether you can infringe on free speech to the point of an indictment based on some-sort of amorphous intent," he said. "Can you be put in jail for saying something even though you have no intent to do it?"