RealNews

U.S. terror case riding on who's more believable

The Detroit terrorism trial could come down to a credibility battle between informants with checkered lives. After 19 days of testimony from 31 witnesses in the nation’s first trial to result from the 9/11 probe, federal prosecutors rested their case Tuesday. The case hinges largely on the testimony of government informant Youssef Hmimssa, who said his former roommates operated a terrorist sleeper cell in metro Detroit. But the government produced no other witness with firsthand knowledge to substantiate the testimony. To counteract Hmimssa’s claims, defense attorneys plan to call their own informant — Omar Shishani.Shishani pleaded guilty last week — in an unrelated case — to trying to smuggle $12 million in counterfeit cashier checks into the United States as part of a soybean futures investment scheme. Shishani is prepared to testify that Hmimssa told him he made up the terrorism story to get even with the men for stealing passports Hmimssa needed to establish a new identity. Hmimssa and Shishani met at the federal prison in Milan. “It’s anybody’s guess how this trial will turn out,” one defense lawyer remarked last week. Prosecutors, who are being observed in Detroit federal court by a Justice Department monitor, are worried, too. They don’t want to lose the historic case. Full Story

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