Ftouhi set for trial after lawyer drops competency defense
Amor Ftouhi, a Tunisian national accused of stabbing a police officer during a terror attack last year at Bishop International Airport in Flint, will stand trial next month after his lawyer dropped a tentative request to mount a diminished capacity defense.
In a federal court filing Monday, defense lawyer Joan Morgan did not explain why she dropped the request for Ftouhi to undergo psychiatric tests. Barring any new developments, Ftouhi will stand trial Nov. 5 in front of U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Flint.
The decision comes two weeks after Morgan indicated that the tests would determine if Ftouhi, 51, is competent to stand trial or suffered from diminished capacity.
Ftouhi is facing three charges, including committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, which is punishable by up to life in prison. He is accused of stabbing Bishop Airport police Lt. Jeff Neville, who survived the attack, on June 20, 2017.
A witness said Ftouhi walked up to the airport police officer, yelled “Allahu Akbar,” pulled out a knife, stabbed the officer in the neck and said, ‘You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,’ ” according to the federal criminal complaint against Ftouhi.
Ftouhi came to the U.S. after conducting online research into American gun laws and Michigan gun shows, prosecutors allege.
He tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun, bought a knife and used it to stab Neville, according to court records.
Ftouhi later told investigators he was a “soldier of Allah” and that he subscribed to the ideology of al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.
Federal authorities say Ftouhi acted alone and that the suspect “wanted to identify” an international airport to carry out his attack but officials declined to say what made him pick Flint.
Ftouhi is believed by authorities to have traveled to the United States legally from Canada on June 16, 2017, through Lake Champlain, New York, and then entered Michigan on June 18, 2017.
He had lived in Canada for the previous decade.