Accused jihadist says govt. agents using spy tactics to target suspects

ABC 7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- An accused jihadist is claiming government agents are using dirty tricks to entrap suspects.

Jamshid Muhtorov was arrested at O'Hare Airport in 2012 and has been in a federal lockup ever since. On Thursday, Muhtorov's attorneys said the government is using fruit of a poison tree to prosecute him, the legal jargon for ill-gotten evidence.

Newly filed court records in Colorado where he is being held paint a picture of national security officials gone wild.

Muhtorov is a refugee from Uzbekistan, who in 2012 was arrested at O'Hare by federal agents who they said he was preparing to depart for overseas where he would link up with Islamic State commandoes.

The FBI raided his apartment in Denver where he lived with his wife and their child and seized evidence that authorities claim showed he was a terrorist in waiting.

But it is how authorities were led to the Uzbeki native that his attorneys are challenging.

They said federal investigators used spy tactics to collect evidence and are demanding prosecutors turn over a complete description of how they built the terrorism case.

According to these newly filed court records attorneys claim the government found alleged evidence against Muhtorov during improper sweeps, that such evidence amounts to fruit of the poison tree and should be inadmissible.

They say national security agents had been:

- Recording and storing every single cell phone call in and out of at least two countries, including the Bahamas.

- Collecting communications in bulk from overseas communication hubs and from satellite transmissions.

- Collecting nearly five billion records per day on the location of cell phones, including those of Americans.

- Collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists and address books from personal email and instant-messaging accounts.

The report from the Justice Department Inspector General is somewhat critical of the warrantless surveillance tactics that have been conducted since 2001.

Muhtorov, a truck driver by trade, has entered a plea of not guilty. One piece of this disputed evidence that authorities would use at trial something he said to his daughter over the phone, "that he would never see her again" but that "if she were a good Muslim, he will see her again in heaven."

It's unclear how much longer he will be in jail before this goes to trial.
Related topics:
i team
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.