Judge rejects terror suspect's bid for freedom
Detroit — An Ypsilanti man who federal prosecutors say amassed an arsenal of weapons and bomb components and stole a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee's all-access pass will stay in jail while awaiting trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Yousef Ramadan, 29, who is portrayed by prosecutors as a violent, dangerous criminal obsessed with weapons and the Islamic State, lost a bond request Tuesday after a hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani.
Ramadan has been jailed since last year but defense lawyers wanted him freed, arguing he is a law-abiding citizen merely curious about violence in the Middle East. Ramadan is a proud U.S. citizen who does not support violence by the Islamic State or other terror-linked groups, his lawyers argued.
Court filings by prosecutors raise questions about whether Ramadan was planning a domestic terror attack before federal agents yanked him off a flight last year at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, searched his luggage and found pepper spray, knives, a stun gun, black masks, two-way radios, a gas mask, a tactical vest and photos of a homemade pipe bomb.
The case against Ramadan, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Palestinian territories, dates to August 2017. That's when he was removed from the Royal Jordanian Airlines flight that was bound for Amman, Jordan, with his ultimate destination Israel. Before the plane could depart, investigators searched his checked baggage and found the items.
Ramadan said he was a photojournalist and needed the items for personal safety.
A secondary inspection uncovered numerous electronic devices, including laptops, iPhones and storage devices.
Investigators found videos of Ramadan shooting pistols and rifles, including a sniper rifle.
Yousef Ramadan had multiple YouTube channels. One, named “WB.88Guns,” contained seven videos posted between November 2016 and February 2017. (Video: YouTube)
He is charged with two weapons offenses that carry 10-year prison sentences.
Defense lawyer Andrew Densemo argued Ramadan is not a flight risk and has rejected a plea deal that would have forced him to relinquish his U.S. citizenship. Instead, Ramadan is fighting the allegations and wants to prove investigators assaulted him while he was detained at the airport.
"Had Mr. Ramadan taken the deal he would have been a free man by now," Densemo wrote in a court filing.