Lawyer seeks bond for alleged ISIS sympathizer
The defense attorney for a Dearborn Heights man suspected of supporting the Islamic State extremists is asking a federal judge to release him on bond with conditions after a clinical psychologist deemed him a “very low” danger.
Todd Shanker, with the Federal Defender Office in Detroit, filed a bond motion this week in U.S. District Court in Detroit for Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 21, who has been under FBI surveillance since May 2015 for allegedly making terror and martyrdom threats.
Shanker said the fact a grand jury returned an indictment against Rayyan with no terrorism charges, plus the new doctor’s evaluation, are enough to reconsider bond in the case.
“At time of the original detention hearing, it was assumed that the government would get an indictment that included a charge of attempted material support of terrorism. Just hours after the hearing, on the same day, a grand jury returned an indictment with no terrorism charges,” Shanker said in his motion.
“This change of circumstances, along with the Dr. (Lyle) Danuloff’s psychological report, supports reconsideration and reversal of the order denying Rayyan release pending trial.”
In February, Rayyan was charged with making a false statement to acquire a firearm and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The charges are 10-year felonies.
He was ordered detained Feb. 16 by a federal magistrate judge after prosecutors said he told an undercover FBI agent he thought was a 19-year-old Sunni Muslim woman that he wanted to kill a Detroit police officer who pulled him over while the man was recovering from a heart attack in the hospital.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also said Rayyan has publicly supported Islamic State extremists on social media and boasted to the undercover agent of his plans to “shoot up” a Detroit church.
Shanker said Danuloff evaluated Rayyan in March and in his report said there is “no evidence of anti-social or violent proclivity either currently or in history.”
Shanker said Danuloff proposes bond conditions of six-months house arrest, drug screening and psychotherapy for Rayyan, who lived at home with his parents and five siblings before his arrest.
In his report, Danuloff said Rayyan’s behavior with the undercover agent was “the result of deep longings for female attention in a very shy and awkward young man. His verbalization was the result of an effort to keep the attention with hopes of a future. They were not the result of radicalization or representative of terrorist intentions.”
“The FBI used extraordinary tactics to manipulate Mr. Rayyan during its surveillance of him from May 2015 to February 2016. During the surveillance the FBI contacted Mr. Rayyan through the undercover employee who posed on Twitter as a 19-year-old Sunni Muslim woman who was depressed, suicidal and prepared to engage in a martyrdom operation,” Shanker wrote in his motion.
In another court filing, Shanker accused the U.S. Attorney’s Office of refusing to turn over evidence of all interactions between Rayyan and the undercover agent. The government has turned over some portions of text message conversations between the two, Shanker said, but a large amount remains undisclosed.
“And with extraordinary audacity, the government has essentially asked defense counsel to conduct his client’s defense in secret, with all filings under seal, as a quid pro quo for the release of unredacted discovery.”
Gina Bayala, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the government will be filing its response to defense motions by the end of next week. She had no further comment on the allegations in Shanker’s motion.
A trial has been set for 9 a.m. June 21 before U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh.